The government has responded to a report from the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee on the work of the UK Border Agency.
The report focuses on many elements of the agency’s work, including the processing of older asylum applications (known as ‘legacy cases’), and addresses the payment of bonuses to senior managers.
Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said:
‘The UK Border Agency has made considerable improvements over recent years and is now a world leader with the introduction of biometric visas, identity cards for foreign nationals, and a points-based system to control migration.
‘The truth is that our border has never been stronger, as illustrated by the fall in asylum applications, the record numbers we are stopping at Calais, and the watch-list checks that are undertaken before people even step on a plane.
‘The UK Border Agency is continuing to make progress in dealing with the legacy backlog of older asylum cases, and has already concluded more than 220,000 cases. We are now looking at whether we can clear the backlog earlier than summer 2011.
‘With the creation of the UK Border Agency we assembled a management team from across Whitehall and beyond who are leading dynamic changes across the business. I believe that it is right to reward staff for outstanding work, and bonuses are only ever awarded to those who have performed to a high standard.’