UK Border Agency loses 150,000 migrants staying illegally

 

A backlog of more than 150,000 migrants refused leave to remain in Britain could be living in the country illegally with their location unknown to border authorities, a watchdog has warned.

UK Border Agency (UKBA) officials did not know how many migrants they were supposed to track down, while as many as one in 10 overstaying visitors had not been told their time was up, John Vine, the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, said.

"We did find that there are over 150,000 cases nationally of migrants who have been refused an extension to stay in the UK," said Mr Vine.

He said: "The agency does not know how many of these individuals have left the country or who are waiting to be removed.

"I also saw no evidence that there is a clear plan in place for the agency to deal with this stream of work to ensure this does not become another backlog."

Inspectors probed the performance of immigration officers in Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight and disclosed the size of the "migration refusal pool" – a list of workers refused permission to stay after their visas had expired.

Inspectors found that in Hampshire staff gave "contradictory" information and were unsure how many overstayers were still in the country.

Officials were supposed to be looking for three times as many illegal migrants as they actually were, the inspectors found.

About 40 per cent of migrant overstayers had not been served with forms telling them to leave the country.

Overall, there were 153,821 people in the refusal pool in October last year. That figure rose to 159,313 by December.

The shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, said the inspector's "damning conclusion" showed the Government was giving the issues very low priority.

"Out of 150,000 people refused leave to remain the Government seems not to know or care how many are still here," she said.

But Damian Green, the Immigration Minister, said UKBA was working through the backlog of overstayers.

"This summer, the UKBA launched a UK-wide operation to remove overstayers and we have already seen 1,800 removals since the campaign started.

"We are also working closely with other government departments to create a hostile environment which makes it much harder for migrants to live in the UK illegally."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £30,000+

£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for individual...

Recruitment Genius: IT Project Coordinator / Manager

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor - OTE £95,000

£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Purchasers

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy