Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration John Vine says migrants making applications and paying substantial fees to the UKBA deserve a better service.
Another backlog of 16,000 immigration cases has been discovered by the Independent Chief Inspector for Borders and Immigration John Vine, as part of an inquiry into applications enter, remain and settle in the UK on the basis of marriage.
Mr Vine told the media: “I think what’s really important is that management of Border Agency and Border Force does its own homework and knows what demands it has on its own operation.”
He added that the backlog would not only burden an “already burdened organisation,” but it would also impact on the people who had put their “lives on hold pending applications”.
“They deserve a better service,” he said.
But Immigration Minister Mark Harper argued that the cases had not been forgotten about and that 14,000 of the so called backlog were refusal cases where applicants had asked for a reconsideration.
Harper said the UKBA should have said “No” to a review of the case and then referred applicants to the appeal process.
“I’m not going to pretend it’s perfect,” he said. “We inherited an agency with a lot of problems.
“We have put in place a new chief executive, we have got strength in the management team. He is getting it in shape.
“We are making progress and we have dealt with a lot of the inheritance that we had two and a half years ago.”
However, Vine has discovered a new backlog which includes more than 2,000 cases dumped in boxes while applicants waited up to 10 years for a decision.
Immigration Matters has received emails from clients who claim they have waited up to 11 years for a decision, which seems consistent with the Chief Inspector’s report.
Meanwhile, Capita, the private firm contracted to hunt down 150,000 overstayers, has firing off thousands of text messages and letters asking people to leave the UK.
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