UK Border Agency loses 150,000 migrants staying illegally
Thursday 05 July 2012
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."
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Greece debt crisis explained: A history of just how the country landed itself in such a mess
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Greek debt crisis: Yanis Varoufakis's funniest (and most memorable) quotes
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
Greece debt crisis explained: A history of just how the country landed itself in such a mess
German conservatives are destroying Europe with austerity, says economist Thomas Piketty
Man dies instantly after shooting firework from top of his head
Isis schoolgirl Amira Abase who fled London to join terrorists in Syria mocks victims of Tunisia massacre
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for individual...
£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...
£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...