Axed UK Border Agency left 500,000 case immigration backlog

Axed UK Border Agency left 500,000 case immigration backlog

Axed UK Border Agency left 500,000 case immigration backlog

The UK’s parliamentary watchdog has slammed the recently-axed UK Border Agency, stating that its backlog of half a million unresolved cases will take 37 years to clear.

The report by the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, led by Labour MP Keith Vas, warned that the reorganisation of the failed immigration and asylum agency needed to be far-reaching. Rebranding, it said, would not correct the organisation’s ‘closed, secretive and defensive’ culture.

The watchdog is calling for a complete reorganisation of the agency’s structure and the replacement of those at the top, noting that previous restructuring efforts had only resulted in rebranding. According to Vaz, no senior Home Office manager should receive bonuses until the backlog is cleared.

The service desperately needs stability, a total change in culture and the manpower and finances to attack the backlog as a priority, said Vaz. He added that the committee was told that UK immigration could never be fixed, even although reducing immigration was deemed essential for the country’s economy.

Published last Saturday, the report acknowledges UKBA’s troubled history and predicts that no fast fixes will be able to ensure its problems don’t outlast its demise by decades. Vas believes that the newly appointed directors will have to prove their ability to implement major changes, including a change in culture.

Sarah Rapson, temporary head of visas and immigration pending its total reorganisation, told the committee that the resources necessary to fix the agency were not in place. She was thanked for her honesty, with the watchdog concluding that the Home Office must show the full scale of the backlog and the fund allocations necessary to reduce it.

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