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UK Border Agency criticised in new report

More than 150,000 migrants have been refused an extension of stay in the UK, but the UK Border Agency doesn’t know where they are, a new report by John Vine, Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has revealed.

The report of the inspection of the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Local Immigration Team particularly focused on how effective the LIT was in managing asylum casework and identifying and removing immigration offenders from the UK.

The Chief Inspector was concerned to find that the UK Border Agency did not know whether the 150,000 refused extension of stay had left the UK or not. The Agency also did not have strategic plan to manage these cases.

The report shows that the location and removal of absconders was considered low priority for the Agency, and that the effectiveness of the intelligence used to support arrest visits was not measured to ensure an efficient use of resources.

“This was my first inspection of a Local Immigration Team office, and I chose Hampshire & Isle of Wight as it was the first such office to be created,” Mr. Vine said. “I was impressed with the management of the office including how the work was managed so that the LIT exceeded its removal targets. Asylum decisions were made promptly in the majority of cases, and there was a good relationship with local MPs and social services. Arrest team visits were well-organised and people were seen to be treated with dignity and respect.

“However, we did find that there are over 150,000 cases nationally of migrants who have been refused an extension of stay in the UK. 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.”

The UK Border Agency has welcomed the Chief Inspector's report and plans to implement its recommendations.