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UKBA immigration case backlog the size of Newcastle MP’s claim | Immigration Matters

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The UK Border Agency has massive backlog of outstanding immigration cases equivalent to the population of Newcastle, MPs warned today.

Illegal immigrants, missing foreign criminals, failed asylum seekers and others refusing to leave the country make up more than 275,000 cases which the agency still needs to deal with, the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee said today.

Labour MP Keith Vaz, the committee’s chairman, said the backlog, which will take years to clear, was unacceptable, adding that the agency seems to have “acquired its own Bermuda triangle”.

“It’s easy to get in, but near impossible to keep track of anyone, let alone get them out,” the MP said.

“This is the first time that the committee has collated all the cases at the UK Border Agency that await resolution. This backlog is now equivalent to the entire population of Newcastle upon Tyne.”

The latest damning report on the agency’s work also said the committee did not believe the Government’s aim of cutting the 260,000 student visas issued each year by a quarter would benefit the UK.

Overseas tax paying students should be excluded from the net migration figures instead, it said.

Britain would then continue to attract international students, a market worth £7.9 billion, and still be able to aim to meet Prime Minister David Cameron’s pledge to cut net migration from 250,000 to the tens of thousands by 2015, the report said.

Mr Vaz added: “This will enable the Government to encourage students to come to the UK whilst maintaining their position on curbing immigration.”

Earlier this year, a group of UK universities called on the government to remove overseas students from immigration figures.

Tough anti-immigration rhetoric and visa restrictions are not helping, as UK universities heads complained to the government last month.

The latest warning came from 68 university chancellors who claimed that the UK’s Tier 4 visa immigration policy risked damaging the UK universities and genuine students could be discouraged from applying.

Today’s report, looking at the agency’s work between December last year and March, also called for the agency to make all its inspections of colleges unannounced, rather than giving them advance notice so key people and documents can be ready.

“If we are to eliminate bogus colleges from the education landscape and employers that abuse the immigration system then visits will have to be unannounced, robust and thorough,” it said.

On the backlog, the committee said it included at least 150,000 migrants who have been refused permission to stay in the UK but who may still be in the country illegally, 21,000 asylum cases, and 3,900 foreign offenders living in the community.

A further 57 foreign criminals who were released in 2006 without being considered for deportation have not yet been traced.

And the so-called controlled archive, used for cases where the agency has lost track of the applicant, contains 80,000 asylum applications and 21,500 immigration cases, the report said.

The agency “does not have a strong record in deporting foreign national offenders” and should set up a team to examine why the foreign criminals living in the community had not been deported and then to ensure that they are sent home, the MPs said.

In future, deportation proceedings should begin as soon as a prisoner is sentenced to speed up the process, they added.

A Home Office spokesman said: “This report highlights the improvements we have made to tackle the huge backlog of cases we inherited. Over 2,000 overstayers have recently been removed following targeted enforcement activity, foreign national offenders are being removed more quickly and we are performing well against visa processing targets.

“Talented students are welcome in the UK, but we have introduced new powers to toughen up the system, keeping out the fraudulent and unqualified while ensuring genuine students continue to benefit from our excellent educational facilities.

“The report has raised some legitimate concerns about issues that we are aware of and are already tackling.”

The MP’s findings will come of no surprise to Immigration Matters readers, many of whom have been waiting more than six months for a reply from the UKBA

Immigration Adviser Cynthia Barker of Bison Management said she has seen an ‘upsurge in long delays, refusals and visa appeal cases’.

‘Clients are also suffering long delays in processing everything from ILR, UK Naturalisation, Student Visas and Yellow Card applications’, she added.

On Thursday as many as 5,500 immigration officials could walk out in a dispute about job cuts and pay.  

The industrial action will disrupt and cause misery to 130,000 passengers and UK tourists as they arrive the day before the Olympic opening ceremony.Last week the UK immigration system was thrown into chaos after senior judges said Home Office rules to curb the number of migrants were unlawful and not based on the Immigration Rules.

See also: 

New Government funded courses available for Bulgarian and Romanian EU students

Overseas students should be excluded from UK net migration figures, say MPs 

Overseas students trapped in UK visa delays 

UK Border immigration officials to strike next week during Olympic arrivals

Immigration Minister now tells foreign students to please come and study in UK

Visa and Immigration Appeals on the increase

Full right of appeal removed for UK family visit visa

Overseas students and workers can qualify for a tax refund 

Visa overstayers will be refused under new UK Immigration Rules

New visa rules for overseas students ‘will cost billions’ say Universities UK

Students applying for UK visas from Pakistan face new English language test

UK must attract overseas students which are key to future prosperity

UKBA confirm changes to the Immigration Rules which start on 6 April 2012

How Romanians and Bulgarians working illegally without Yellow Card or papers can legalise their status in the UK

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 refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, please email: or visit for free immigration news updates.

Overseas students and workers can qualify for a tax refund 

You could qualify for a tax refund if you are an overseas student, work permit holder, Tier 1, Yellow or Blue Card holder – in fact any visa type – even if you are no longer legal or even in the UK!

Majestic College offer special packages for EU students and access to fully funded courses with NO UPFRONT FEES. 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

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  1. […] UKBA immigration case backlog the size of Newcastle MP’s claim […]

  2. […] UKBA immigration case backlog the size of Newcastle MP’s claim […]

  3. […] In its report on the UKBA, the committee also raises concerns about a huge backlog of 276,000 immigration cases – equivalent to the population of Newcastle. […]

  4. […] UKBA immigration case backlog the size of Newcastle MP’s claim […]

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