The running of the points based system of immigration was criticised by Immigration Lawyers during a hearing of the Public Accounts Committee on 28 March 2011, the BBC reports.
MPs took evidence from immigration solicitors, the Home Office and the UK Border Agency (UKBA) following a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) that found that the system was not delivering its “full potential” for value for money and that customer service could be improved.
Concerns were raised that UKBA was not effectively managing the risk of non-compliance with immigration rules by migrants and their sponsors.
The NAO alleged that up to 181,000 migrants who should have left the UK since December 2008 could still be here.
The UK Border Agency is responsible for running the points-based immigration system for non-EU workers.
Since it was introduced in 2008, 182,000 migrants from outside the European Economic Area have been allowed to enter the UK for work – and a further 179,000 already in the UK have been given leave to remain.
Labour MP Austin Mitchell criticised the loophole that could allow non-EU migrants to register in another EU country before travelling to the UK without the need to be included in the points system.
He said it was discriminating against people such as Chefs coming from Commonwealth countries, accusing border officials of “allowing people in to cook frogs legs and sauerkraut but not Balti”.
Solicitor Vicash Ramkissoon said the previous system of work permits provided more information, as solicitors were able to contact case workers directly.
He claimed the new system which contains an “advice line” was “hit and miss”.
Home Office permanent secretary Dame Helen Ghosh defended the system saying it was “adaptable”. Source: BBC.
Committee Chair Margaret Hodge added that Tier 4 student visas would be covered at a future meeting.
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