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Immigration inspectors find backlog of 16,000 migrants

An investigation into UK border controls has revealed that more than 16,000 immigrants are waiting to hear whether they can stay in Britain.

The number of applicants is growing at a rate of 700 a month, with around 14,000 already refused the right to stay.

Some people have been waiting 'considerable periods of time' for cases to be resolved Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Independent Chief Inspector for Borders and Immigration John Vine discovered the backlogs as part of an inquiry into applications to remain in Britain on the basis of marriage.

Mr Vine said: "We are concerned that this backlog of cases has been allowed to develop. As a result, some applicants have been waiting for considerable periods of time for their cases to be resolved."

Thirty-one stowaways found in lorries at Port of Calais

UK Border Control search a lorry trailer for stowaway passengers at Calais Ferry Port in France. Picture date: Monday June 6, 2011. Credit: PA

Thirty-one stowaways had their hopes of entering the UK shattered after border officials found them hidden inside four UK-bound lorries at the Port of Calais.

A sniffer dog indicated there were people inside a Peterborough-bound Turkish-registered lorry and 12 Albanians were found among the cargo.

Officers using heartbeat monitors also discovered six Afghans hidden in a Polish-registered vehicle which was heading to Accrington, Lancashire, with its load of sofas.

A detector dog also led officers to find six Albanians hidden among nappies on a Czech-registered lorry bound for Lincolnshire.

The fourth discovery was in an Irish-registered lorry heading to the Republic of Ireland. A dog led officers to find seven people on board - three from Iran, two from Pakistan, one from Afghanistan and a Syrian.

All the stowaways were handed over to French border police.

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Home Office vows to transform UKBA

We have known for some time that UKBA is a troubled organisation with a poor record of delivery.

Turning the agency around will take time, but we are making progress. The Border Force is now an independent organisation and its performance is improving.

And UKBA has a transformation plan that will put the agency on a surer footing.

A new performance and compliance unit has been created to provide assurance that information and data that is routinely published by the agency is robust and reliable.

The Home Secretary will invite John Vine as part of his future inspection plan to inspect the audit and assurance mechanisms of the agency.

– A Home Office spokesman

Keith Vaz warned UKBA backlog was 'spiralling out of control'

The damning report follows comments by the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Keith Vaz, earlier this month.

Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee Keith Vaz Credit: Andrew Parsons/PA Archive

Mr Vaz said the number of unresolved cases that UKBA is dealing with - more than 300,000 - is "spiralling out of control".

He said: "There are now about the same number of cases awaiting resolution by UKBA as there are people living in Iceland."

Chief inspector issues damning report on UK Border Agency

Chief inspector of the UK Border Agency John Vine was asked to evaluate how well UKBA had handled the backlog of thousands of unresolved immigration cases.

Chief inspector of the UK Border Agency John Vine Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive

Mr Vine said he believed little had been done to try to resolve the cases before they were passed over.

He said: "Through the inefficiency and delay of the agency, those who would otherwise have faced removal will have accrued rights to remain in the UK."

Mr Vine also criticised "poor" customer service, and said that a lack of resources meant that deadlines were often missed, even when legal action was threatened.

The report said: "The issue of limited resources also created a significant impediment to case clearance.

"As a result, timescales given to applicants or their representatives about the resolution of cases were frequently missed, even where litigation was being threatened."

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'100,000 letters left unopened' by UK Border Agency

  • UK Border Agency (UKBA) staff dealt with a backlog of immigration cases so inefficiently that at one point 100,000 pieces of post were unopened.
  • In March 2011, there were 147,000 unfinished cases that were passed to an audit unit tasked with dealing with the backlog.
  • More than 150 boxes of post, including letters from applicants, MPs and lawyers, lay unopened.
  • In a sample of 135 files examined as part of the inspection, each case had lain dormant for an average of 87 months before they were reopened in 2010 for consideration.
  • The shortest period of inactivity was six months and the longest period of inactivity was 17 years and nine months.
  • A total of 115 cases were found to have entered the UK illegally, and there were only 10 cases where active efforts had been made to trace absconders.

Immigration chiefs accused of misleading Parliament

An examination of controlled archive cases showed that the security checks - which the agency stated were being done on these cases - had not been undertaken routinely or consistently since April 2011.

I also found that no thorough comparison of data from controlled archive cases was undertaken with other Government departments or financial institutions in order to trace applicants until April 2012.

This was unacceptable and at odds with the assurances given to the Home Affairs Select Committee that 124,000 cases were only archived after 'exhaustive checks' to trace the applicant had been made.

– Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration John Vine

UK Border Agency condemned over immigration backlog

UK Border Agency (UKBA) staff dealt with a backlog of immigration cases so inefficiently that at one point 100,000 pieces of post were unopened, a report said today.

UKBA have been condemned for a backlog of immigration cases Credit: PA Wire

Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration John Vine found that security checks were not properly carried out on old cases and that workers had failed to check the records of other Government departments.

Applications were placed into an archive of unresolved cases after "very minimal work", despite the agency assuring MPs that "exhaustive" checks had been carried out, he concluded.

UK Border Agency caseload 'out of control'

The number of outstanding immigration and asylum cases rose by 25,000 in three months and is "spiralling out of control", making the total caseload the equivalent of the population of Iceland, the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee Chairman Keith Vaz has said.

More than 300,000 cases needed to be dealt with at the end of June, up 9% over the previous three months, the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee revealed.

But clearing the backlog should not be a rushed job done without the proper checks, the committee's report on the UK Border Agency (UKBA) warned.

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