An immigration computer database is being set up to track down the 150,000 people who are overstaying or remaining in UK illegally, it was revealed this week.
The project will be launched next month to help deal with the huge backlog of foreign nationals who have overstayed their student or temporary work visas.
Letters will be sent to those in the ‘migration refusal pool’ warning that they will be deported and barred from entering the UK if they do not leave within 28 days.
In a new move private companies are being invited to tender for the multi-million pound contract.
Potential UKBA partners include G4S, the controversial security firm which failed to deliver enough staff for the Olympic Games forcing the organisers to call in the Armed Forces.
A private security firm was actually employing illegal workers before the games started.
Passenger records held in the e-borders database, which covers details of all flights outside Europe to and from Britain, will be checked and there will be careful monitoring of the 100 immigrants whose visas expire daily.
The measures come after it was revealed last month that 40 per cent of immigrants who have been refused leave to stay in the country have not been sent the forms demanding they leave.
Tens of thousands of these lapsed visa cases date back more than five years and are a legacy of Labour’s catastrophic mismanagement of Britain’s immigration system.
Conservative Immigration Minister Damian Green said he hoped the new scheme would allow Border Agency staff more time to carry out enforcement operations and reduce the backlog.
He said: ‘We’re concentrating much more on enforcement. From debrief interviews we’ve found that a third of people decide to overstay at the point their visa expires.
‘If we can send these people letters warning of the consequences of illegally overstaying then I’m sure we can reduce the total number deciding to remain.’
The move follows a UKBA summer-long drive to remove visa ‘overstayers’ that has led to thousands being removed, with 2,000 of those being in London alone.
The majority of those targeted entered the country on student visas which have now expired. Mr Green said they mainly came from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Brazil and Nigeria and were now working illegally.
An operation in the capital on Monday resulted in three arrests. Two Pakistani nationals and an Iranian man were arrested in Walworth and Brixton, South London, for allegedly working illegally.
One 28-year-old Iranian was arrested by the same immigration officer at a Halal butchers three years ago. Another Pakistani man smirked as he was led away in handcuffs in what was his third arrest by UKBA staff.
The chief inspector of immigration, John Vine, criticised the UKBA for not having a strategy for reducing the pool of overstayers last month.
The only guidance staff were given for dealing with cases in this 150,000-strong group was that the total size of the pool should not be allowed to increase.
Vine said his greatest concern during his inspection of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight immigration team was over the ‘150,000-plus cases nationally that are sitting in a migration refusal pool’.
The chief inspector concluded that UKBA staff reported it being impossible to know whether the 150,000 were still in Britain or had left voluntarily.
In total, the UKBA faces an enormous backlog of 276,000 immigration cases. The growing total includes asylum seekers, foreign criminals and illegal migrants and is equivalent to the population of Newcastle.
MPs sitting on the Commons Home Affairs Committee said the UK has become a ‘Bermuda Triangle’ for migrants, a country where it is ‘easy to get in, but impossible to keep track of everyone, let alone get them out.’
In addition, around 21,000 new asylum cases have built up because officials were able to process only 63 per cent of last year’s applications.
There are also 3,900 foreign criminals living in the community and free to commit more crimes, including more than 800 who have been at large for five years or more. Source: Daily Mail.
There are between 500,000 to 700,000 people living in the UK illegally, which the think tank ippr estimated would take 20 years at a cost of £5 billion to remove.
If you are here on a student, working or tourist visa it is your responsibility to ensure that you do not overstay on an expired visa. If you break the rules you could face a 10 year ban from returning to the UK.
The UK Border Agency advises applicants with limited leave to remain to ensure they apply to extend visa in time – before the visa expires.
However, there are circumstances where migrants have little choice but to overstay – a relationship with an EEA or UK National, a child or simply because they have run out of money
What should you do if you have overstayed your visa or leave to remain and need advice?
The UK Border Agency recently announced important changes to the way applications from visa overstayers will be treated.
Starting 1 October 2012, if you have overstayed your leave or permission to stay in the UK by more than 28 days any application for further leave will be automatically refused.
Immigration Advisers Bison Management has dealt with many cases of migrants who have overstayed their visa period. Bison Immigration Adviser Cynthia Barker said:
‘Overstaying applicants are normally automatically refused unless there is a strong case for a human rights appeal or where they are in a relationship or have a child with British or EEA national.
‘Many of the cases are dealt with on an ‘outside the rules’ basis or go to a full appeal at the First Tier Tribunal.
‘The changes to the immigration rules will set out more clearly when a refusal will be issued.
‘The important thing is for a good immigration adviser to ‘think outside the box’ and look beyond the cold facts.’
Employers who employ migrant workers on working or students visas should have a system in place to monitor visa expiry dates.
Overseas students should also be monitored to ensure they are actually studying as well as working for the correct number of hours.
Bulgarian and Romanian citizens are subject to restrictions on working in the UK and cannot be employed in the same way as other EEA nationals. UK work restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian nationals, were extended until the end of 2013 by the government last November.
Employers who fail to carry out the proper checks on migrant workers, including Bulgarians and Romanians, risk a fine of up to £10,000.
If you need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed down, Visa, ILR, Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an appeal against a UK Border Agency or British Embassy refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, please email:
Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.
For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org