Scrapped UKBA Failed to Track Asylum Seekers in Bungle “from beyond the grave”

An independent inspector announced that immigration authorities did not follow up more than  3,000 leads on missing asylum seekers.
He managed to prove that UKBA had neglected important information given by the police, which could have helped it solving 3,077 of the cases with asylum seekers who had disappeared.
While investigating the failings of UKBA, John Vine, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders of Immigration, found it had marked a great number of the cases as “unreliable”. There are legal documents, which should serve in favour of this.
Vine stated that the number of similar cases is 42,000 as many of them date back since more than 10 years. He added the current whereabouts of many of these people are unknown.
It was also found, that UKBA did not use the databases of the Police National Computer, which contains really useful information which could be considered while investigating.
As the UKBA was demised in March, the report of the inspector included the period from the beginning of the year until the date of the demission.
Talking on the matter John Vines said: “I believe the Home Office needs to demonstrate to applicants, Parliament and the public that it has taken all reasonable action to identify whether individuals remain in the UK illegally.
What is expected from the Home Office for the near future is to publish a real timescale accounting the detection of asylum and migration cases.
Chairman of the Home Affairs Committee, Keith Vaz, stated that UKBA was not competent enough and with the time many of their mistakes were becoming evident.

UKBA Slammed Over Fresh Immigration Backlog

After the discovery of more than 16,000 unresolved immigration applications, the UK Border Agency underwent lots of critics.

The found applications which were not inspected were of people living outside the EEA but who wanted to settle in the UK because of a partner there.

Inspectors said that most of these cases were appropriately dealt with but of course they managed to find some failings.

There are about 14,000 cases in which applications were rejected one time and when people had tried to apply for a second time their applications had not been dealt with at all.

Some cases were called “complex” as they were not being handled as stuff which needed further guidance.

The independent chief inspector of borders and immigration John Vine criticized this, saying:

“The agency should know about its workload. It should prioritise its resources and, at the very least, have a plan to deal with some of the things that we come across in inspection,”

“For people to be in such a backlog of cases is not acceptable and I urge the agency to deal with the cases swiftly. To wait such a long time, even if your case is complex, is completely outside any service standards.”

On the other hand Mark Harper, the immigration minister, defended UKBA claiming the agency had already had too many problems when they had inherited it.

According to him the system was not good enough to deal with such situations in the past but the new policies will change everything.

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Legal or Illegal Immigrants

Many people inUKgot wrong calls from a firm working for the UK Border Agency. They were announced that despite the fact they stayed legally in theUKthey would have to leave the country.

The UKBA contracted Capita for more information about the illegal immigrants in theUK, with the intent to clear their cases.

Unfortunately, the firm made a huge mistake and contacted a number of people who already gotUKpassports or valid visas. These people were warned to get in touch with the UKBA immediately because they were no longer permitted to stay and work in theUK.

Contractor Capita apologized and said that the error probably came because of outdated files and summoned all these people to contact the Home office of the UK Border Agency and give correct data.

Capita and UKBA received numerous complaints and warnings.

Many of the affected people did not have the chance to contact their lawyers because their messages were being sent out over the Christmas period. Another suggestion for a forthcoming problem was the fact that the delivery of the news may have been dismissed if sent via text message because many people receive them as spam messages and do not open them.

In fact, many of those who are really illegal immigrants did not receive such calls. However, critics claim that even if these had got warning calls this would not have frightened them and made them leave the country.

The UKBA came with the statement that it “will enforce the removal of anyone who refuses to go home voluntarily”.

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John Vine Crticises UKBA for Dismissing Illegal Student Warnings

IMMIGRATION officers failed to check tip-offs about potentially illegal overseas students, leaving tens of thousands free to avoid deportation.

The UK Border Agency has been criticised for not paying enough attention to over 150 000 reports from colleges and other educational institutions, informing the UKBA that certain non-EU students had failed to enroll, stopped attending their course or have been found to be in breach of their visas, which means they might be staying illegally in the country, abusing the educational system.

This information has been discovered by the chief inspector of immigration John Vile

Vine found that the UKBA had “no targets in place” for dealing with these warnings.

“As a result, notifications of changes to circumstances of students, details of students failing to enrol or attend classes, or curtailment of sponsorship were not being acted upon,” he stated. “Over 150,000 notifications had accumulated and were awaiting action, meaning that potentially thousands of students had retained leave to remain when they should not have done so.”

In a report published yesterday he said although the backlog was now cleared, failing to quickly process vital information meant thousands could have been wrongly allowed to remain in the UK.

By May this year, after a concerted push from the UKBA, the backlog has been sorted out, however Vine criticised the UKBA for dealing with it as specific operation when it should be an “outgoing priority.”

Ministers claimed  that the regulations related to student visas are now tightened up and new measures have been applied in order to the warnings by Vine`s team, who said that ” many people were entering the country on less stringent visas intended for shorter periods of study.

According to shadow immigration minister Chris Bryant, the failings at the UKBA were a demonstration that”with Theresa May running the Home Office, we are getting the worst of both worlds”.

On the other hand, immigration minister Mark Harper said that the improvements made by the UKBA have been recognised by Vine`s team, as they really toughened the rules” recently.

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UKBA Backlog Case Closure May Lead to Amnesty for Some Immigrants

MPs have warned that Thousands of illegal immigrants may be given an amnesty to stay in the UK because of the attempts to clear a growing backlog of immigration cases. According to Keith Vaz – the chairman of the Home Affairs Committee the situation was ” spiralling out of control ” as the it was almost the same as Iceland’s population (320,000) During the last 3 months, the unresolved immigration cases have increased with 25,000.
The committee is also concerned about the so called “controlled archives”. These are unresolved applications from people that the UKBA has no contact with. The UKBA has the intention to clear those archives by the end of 2012, however there are warnings from the committee, which concern the scrutiny given to each case. They are afraid the huge number of cases to be closed and the paucity of staff may lead to  unreasonable amnesty for some immigrants.

In its report on the UKBA the Committee said: “We are concerned that the closure of the controlled archives may result in a significant number of people being granted effective amnesty in the United Kingdom, irrespective of the merits of their case.”

On the other hand minister Mark Harper Speaking to the BBC, he said: “We’re absolutely not granting an amnesty. If those people ever show up again we will take very firm action against them. We’re working through that backlog steadily and we’re making good progress.”

He also stated  it was becoming increasingly harder to live illegally in the UK.

In addition there is a “migration refusal pool”, which consists of the cases ( about 174,00 cases) of people, who have been denied the right to stay in the UK, however it is not clear, whether they have left the UK, or they live illegally on its territory.

The report continued: “While many of the people in the backlog of cases will have already left the country, we are not convinced that the agency’s limited checking regime will have picked up all of the applicants who remain in the country.

“For this reason we are concerned that the final checks made on these cases should be thorough and that they should not be rushed to meet an artificial deadline.”

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Less Fake Passports Collected by the UKBA in 2011

During the years many people have been trying to come to the UK by using fake travel documents to enter the country. Recent researches show that the number of fake documents spotted by the UK border guards has almost halved in the last 5 years. In 2007 for example there were about 3, 300  fake passports collected by the UK border Agency, while last year they were 1, 858. This information has been obtained by BBC through a Freedom of Information request

UKBA states that this decrease is due to the strict measurements taken and improved security, however some critics do not agree the level of fraudsters trying to enter the UK with fake documents is down. They say it is possible that the statistics is wrong, as the Border Agency has been cut, which means there are 4, 000 fewer people to be looking for fake documents, when compared to the number of staff two years ago.

According to UKBA biometric data on the passports and the detailed checks before entering the UK played a very good role in preventing fraudsters from entering the UK.

Rob Whiteman, The UKBA chief executive said: “Overall we’re doing a good job in that we’re constantly finding more forgeries overseas. The amount, therefore, that we detect at the border, there is a long-term trend of that falling but that’s because we’re so successful in finding it overseas and stopping forged documents getting to the UK in the first place.”

Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee said the drop in numbers of fake passports should not lead to complacency and that the Border Agency should prepare itself to deal with more determined attempts at illegal entry.

He said: “These are very, very sophisticated people. We’re not dealing with some granny somewhere in the world who says ‘I want to get in’. We’re dealing with gangs of people who are making billions of pounds out of forged passports and that’s why our system has to be very secure.”