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John Vine’s report places UKBA in line of criticism

Report says intelligence not always used consistently; tabs not kept on outcome 17th May 2011: John Vine’s report has placed the UK Border Agency in line of criticism. The report, details of which are now available, suggests intelligence was not always used consistently. Moreover, tabs were not always kept on the outcome of allegations.
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The report makes it clear the UKBA has been at fault in the way it uses intelligence to tackle illegal immigration.

Independent chief inspector says some of the staff members could also be disproportionately targeting some nationalities.

The UKBA on an average gets approximately 100,000 pieces of intelligence annually. A substantial number of reports are on people working illegally.

Vine’s report says the agency could not specify how much of this info eventually saw investigators apprehend illegal workers, or those making attempts to enter the UK unlawfully.

Vine’s inspection did came across cases, including drug seizures, where the UKBA used intelligence well. But it also found examples where the UKBA was unclear what it had achieved.

Quoting an example, the report says UKBA in one of the cases was informed that approximately a dozen people were arriving on student visas from Sri Lanka, and they intended to work illegally. The agency had no record of whether the suspects were identified and what had happened to them.

The report said: "Overall, the agency was not able to identify the proportion of allegations that had resulted in people being prevented from entering the UK or which had led to enforcement action.
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"In the absence of this data, it makes it very difficult to judge how significant allegations are to the effective identification of offenders, the level of resources that should be devoted to handling allegations and the most effective systems to facilitate this."

Andrew Green from campaign group Migration Watch asserted the report underscored serious shortcomings within the agency.

The ability to remove people who have no right to be in this country is absolutely fundamental to the credibility of the entire immigration system. Approximately, two million visas were issued a year and if they cannot remove those staying on illegally, they  were all wasting time, he said.

John Vine’s inspection took place between 15 October and 9 December 2010 and focused on how the agency obtains and uses information about abuse of the immigration system and customs controls.

Soon after independent chief inspector published his report, Minister for immigration Damian Green said: `Enforcement activity is the cornerstone of our new immigration system and our intelligence-led approach means we are working smarter; focussing resources where they matter the most.’

He added information from the public was extremely important. ‘The UK Border Agency very much welcomes members of the public providing intelligence and a lot of that is the basis of the intelligence-led work that we do,’ he said.

‘Let the message be clear, the UK is no longer an easy touch for illegal immigrants.’

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