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UK Border Agency Failing to Control Immigration, Say MPs

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TEHRAN, June 2 (ICANA) – An all-party committee of MPs Thursday accused the UK Border Agency of granting a 'silent amnesty' to more than 160,000 asylum seekers after failing to control immigration.
Thursday, June 02, 2011 11:37:46 PM
UK Border Agency Failing to Control Immigration, Say MPs

It was also indefensible that officials have been unable to trace 74,500 asylum seekers among a total backlog of 450,000 unresolved cases, the Home Affairs Committee said.

“Though progress has been made it is clear that the UK Border Agency is still not fit for purpose,” committee chair Keith Vaz said, five years after former home secretary John Reid first declared that the agency was “not fit for purpose.”

“While there is no doubt that individual caseworkers are dedicated and hard-working, there are serious concerns over the agency’s ability to deal with cases and respond to intelligence swiftly and thoroughly,” Vaz said.

The committee found that 40 per cent of the backlog cases have been given an effective amnesty by being allowed to remain since 2006, while nearly 18 per cent had been archived as not found and only 9 per cent had their claims of asylum rejected and subsequently were removed from the UK.

With the government set on reducing immigration to the tens of thousands and effectively controlling immigration, Vaz said that the agency needed to ensure that its focused on “the outcome rather than the processes of their work.”

“The processes need to be efficient and fair in dealing with genuine students and those filling skills shortages, but tough and uncompromising to those who seek to abuse the system and stay illegally“, he said.

But responding to the findings, Immigration Minister, Damian Green, insisted the asylum system had 'significantly' improved after years of 'chaos' under the previous Labour government and denied there was 'absolutely no amnesty' offered.

“After many, many years of chaos and the shambles we inherited, the asylum system is beginning to get back to some kind of health and stability,' Green told the BBC.

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