Immigration backlog '500,000'

The backlog of immigration cases at Britain's troubled border service has hit a "staggering" half a million people and at the current rate of progress will take nearly four decades to clear, a group of MPs has warned.

Live updates

MPs: 'Nearly four decades' to clear immigration backlog

The backlog of immigration cases at Britain's border service has hit half a million people and at the current rate of progress will take nearly four decades to clear, a group of MPs has warned.

Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz said: "At the current rate it will take 37 years to clear and the Home Office cannot confirm that this is the last of the backlogs."

Advertisement

Immigration Minister backs new government visa service

Immigration Minister Mark Harper has backed the Government's new UK Visas and Immigration Service to clear Britain's backlog of immigration cases.

The UK Border Agency was a troubled organisation for many years, which is why the Home Secretary took the decision to split the agency in March this year.

The new UK Visas and Immigration Service has a clear focus to improve visa performance and customer service, while the Immigration Enforcement Command concentrates on those who break our immigration laws.

Both now report directly to ministers, delivering greater transparency and accountability.

It will take a long time to clear the backlogs we inherited - but through the changes we have made we are in a much stronger position to do so.

Vaz criticises Home Secretary over immigration backlog

Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz MP has criticised Home Secretary Theresa May following the Committee's latest report into the backlog of immigration cases in Britain.

He said:

The backlog of cases has now hit a staggering half a million people. This could fill Wembley Stadium to capacity six times over.

At the current rate it will take 37 years to clear and the Home Office cannot confirm that this is the last of the backlogs.

Theresa May described the UK Border Agency as 'closed, secretive and defensive', however, despite abolition nothing appears to have changed apart from the name. If people at the top are not replaced this will only be an exercise in rebranding as has happened in previous reincarnations.

There should be no more bonuses paid to any senior management at the Home Office until the backlogs are cleared.

After a raft of damning reports, Home Secretary Theresa May abolished the UKBA and replaced it with UK Visas and Immigration and an Immigration Enforcement command, which were brought back under the control of ministers.

UK's immigration backlog 'could take 37 years to clear'

The backlog of immigration cases in the UK could take nearly four decades to clear. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The backlog of immigration cases at Britain's troubled border service has hit a "staggering" half a million people and at the current rate of progress will take nearly four decades to clear, a group of MPs has warned.

A rise in the number of foreign-national offenders living in the community as they await deportation was also discovered by the Home Affairs Select Committee in its latest report into the work of the now-defunct UK Border Agency (UKBA).

The committee warned that a recent move to scrap the agency and replace it with two new divisions - one in charge of immigration and visas, the other with border enforcement - was in danger of being an "exercise in rebranding".

It discovered that in the final quarter of last year, spending on external consultants at the agency rocketed from £27,000 in the previous three months to more than £500,000.

Back to top

Latest ITV News reports