Asylum seekers data ignored

Border officials failed to pursue more than 3,000 leads identified on police databases when attempting to track down missing asylum seekers, an inspector has found.

Inspector: 'Backlog of 40,000' asylum cases in the UK

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, John Vine, has told Daybreak that the UK has a backlog of around 40,000 asylum cases which need to be addressed.

Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration John Vine Credit: Daybreak

He said: "The Police National Computer was used by the [Border] Agency to find people of high harm, but was it wasn't used for was to try and trace and locate these people and that was the whole purpose of the exercise."

He added: "Remember way back in 2006, the then Home Secretary said all this backlog of cases needed to be completed by the summer of 2011, and here we are two years later and we still have a huge backlog of cases."

Information in 'paper files not used to trace applicants'

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has raised concerns over the handling of legacy asylum and migration cases by the former UK Border Agency.

A report found that:

  • There were some cases where the information contained in paper files was not being used to trace applicants
  • Ministers were not informed that the proposed closure criteria used for legacy cases did not include the risks associated with not examining paper files
  • The Agency had not reviewed Police National Computer (PNC) information, to obtain addresses for 3,077 positive matches, or to take action in relation to maybe matches
  • Work had not yet commenced on archived cases and active reviews that had been reopened as a result or positive data matching results

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Inspector: Home Office must prioritise asylum cases

A follow-up investigation, after a report released in November last year, has shown a number of concerns with regards to UK border control.

Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration John Vine, who ordered the report, said there were some cases where information contained in paper files was not being used to trace applicants.

He added that work had not yet commenced on archived cases and active reviews that had been reopened as a result or positive data matching results.

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.

While action had been taken to reopen archived cases following positive data matching results, I was concerned that no work had actually started on them. This was also true of active reviews.

The Home Office will now need to ensure that these cases are afforded priority and publish a realistic and achievable timescale for the completion of all legacy asylum and migration cases.

– John Vine, Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration

Border officials 'failed to pursue 3,000 asylum leads'

UK border officials failed to pursue more than 3,000 leads on missing asylum seekers, an inspector has found.

Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration John Vine said no action was taken by the now defunct UK Border Agency (UKBA) to locate positive hits, which were returned when matching asylum seeker details on the Police National Computer (PNC).

UK border officials failed to pursue more than 3,000 leads on missing asylum seekers Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Border staff said a decision was taken not to write to applicants in relation to PNC checks because the information was deemed unreliable.

The inspector added that he was "not provided with any rationale to support this view".

He said that if the PNC checks been followed up, it might have resulted in new information coming to light that would have helped the UKBA to locate individuals.