‘There is no amnesty’: Green

The system government inherited was ‘chaotic’

3rd June 2011: ‘There is no amnesty’, says Immigration Minister Damian Green.
Soon after the UK Border Agency came under attack from Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, the immigration minister said although the system the government inherited was ‘chaotic,’ there will be no amnesty for asylum seekers in the UK.

Responding to a report by the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee on the work of the UK Border Agency, Green said: ‘We have known for some time that the asylum system we inherited was chaotic.

‘Some of these cases date back more than a decade and the UK Border Agency was always clear that, because of the length of time many of these individuals have been in the country, there would be no alternative to granting them leave to remain. There is no amnesty.’

The MPs had earlier claimed a change in guidance for border officials resulted in an “amnesty” for asylum seekers.

At least four out of 10 cases concluded led to the asylum seeker being permitted to stay in the UK. In fact, approximately 403,500 cases were finalized with just about 38,000 or nine per cent having their claims rejected and being removed from the UK.

Another 74,500 cases were consigned to the controlled archive “signifying that the applicant cannot be found and the agency has no idea whether or not the applicant remains in the UK”.
Nothing less than 161,000 or 40 per cent were granted leave to remain. The committee “such a large proportion that it amounts in effect to an amnesty”, the committee said

Elaborating, the MPs said many asylum seekers have been permitted to remain in Britain by officials going through a backlog of cases. This, they claimed, amounted to an amnesty.

The cross-party Home Affairs Select Committee report on the issue came to the conclusion that the UKBA’s target of clearing backlog of 450,000 cases by summer “seems to have been achieved largely through increasing resort to grants of permission to stay”.
Committee chairman Keith Vaz said the agency was “still not fit for purpose”.

"Though progress has been made it is clear that the UK Border Agency is not fit for purpose," he asserted.

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