Immigration backlog: New warning from watchdog

Damian Green Immigration minister Damian Green has pledged to improve the system

Related Stories

The UK Border Agency has no "clear strategy" for dealing with a group of more than 150,000 foreign nationals staying on after visas expire, the borders and immigration inspector says.

John Vine said the group, typically foreign students, is growing in number.

His report warned that immigration officers did not know how many of those told to leave the UK had actually left.

Immigration minister Damian Green blamed the last government - but Labour said the report was damning.

The latest report from the inspector focuses on a previously unknown problem in the UKBA, concerning people from outside Europe who have deadlines to leave the UK.

Many of these people are students and if they do not leave when told to do so, they are added to the "migration refusal pool" (MRP).

'More pro-active'

"There are over 150,000 cases nationally of migrants who have been refused an extension of stay in the UK," said Mr Vine.

"The Agency does not know how many of these individuals have left the country or 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.

"I believe it can and must do more to demonstrate it is dealing with this issue in a more proactive manner."

The report said the number of MRP cases had grown from 153,000 in October of last year to almost 160,000 by mid-December.

Mr Vine said: "The Agency needs much more effective planning in place to deal with this stream of work in order to ensure it removes individuals still in the UK who have no right to be here, while setting out clear performance targets to manage these cases much more effectively."

Immigration Minister Damian Green said "Under the last government there was no effective strategy in place to ensure migrants left at the end of their time in the UK. The UK Border Agency is now working through a group of potential over-stayers to identify those who have not left.

"This includes checking passenger records using our e-borders database which now covers all flights outside Europe.

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

'Damning conclusion'

But shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the coalition was "failing on illegal immigration."

"The damning conclusion from the government's own immigration inspector has concluded that the government is giving a very low priority to finding and removing people who have been refused permission to stay.

"We've had the fiasco of the border scandal, where the Home Secretary has admitted she doesn't know how many people came in without checks. We now have huge queues at our airports because of poor management and the cuts to nearly 900 UK Border Force staff."

More on This Story

Related Stories

More UK stories


Features & Analysis

  • Cartoon of women chatting on the metroChat wagon

    The interesting things you hear in a women-only carriage

  • Replica of a cargo boxSpecial delivery

    The man who posted himself to the other side of the world

  • Music scoreFinal score Watch

    Goodbye to NYC's last classical sheet music shop

  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her Blackberry from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya'Emailgate'

    Hillary gets a taste of scrutiny that lies ahead

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show


  • A cyborg cockroachClick Watch

    The cyborg cockroach – why has a computer been attached to this insect’s nervous system?

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.