124,000 asylum seekers, immigration cases dumped in archive

The UK Border officials have lost track of 124,000 asylum seekers and migrants; and have laced the cases in a ‘controlled archive’ for applicants who cannot be contacted by them.


The fact came to fore after the MPs accused the UK Border Agency of letting out of sight a population of asylum seekers and migrants equivalent to the size of Cambridge.

The Home Affairs Select Committee, in fact, said 124,000 asylum seeker and immigration cases had been dumped in an archive, with the Agency giving up on them.

The MPs made it clear that "controlled archive" was a term used as an attempt to conceal that the list was of lost applicants.

The committee, rather said, the archive had become a ‘dumping ground for cases where the UK Border Agency has lost track of the applicant’.

The revelation is significant as Home Secretary in 2006, John Reid, had pledged dealing with the "legacy" cases by the end of 2011.

The backlog includes cases which are duplicates or where the paperwork is irrelevant because the case has been resolved in some other way.

It comes at a time when a signature campaign of MigrationWatch ‘No to 70million’is calling on the ministers to get a firm grip on immigration policy. So far, the e-petition has been signed by 67,000.

The MPs said: ‘Whilst we appreciate the difficulties involved in tracing people with whom the agency have lost contact, usually for a period of several years, it is clear that the controlled archive has become a dumping ground for cases on which the agency has given up.

‘From 18,000 files in November 2010, the archive now contains 124,000 files, roughly equivalent to the population of  Cambridge.’ 

The committee chairman, Keith Vaz, said: ‘The UK Border Agency is still not providing the efficient, effective service that Parliament expects.’

He added: ‘There is little point in encouraging people to do this if the border agency continues to fail to manage the intelligence it receives or to keep track of those who apply to stay.’

Responding, Minister for Immigration Damian Green  said: ‘I am determined to deal with the historic asylum cases left by the last government and we are making real progress tackling the archive to trace these individuals.’

The shadow immigration minister, Chris Bryan, said: "These numbers betray a shocking failure at the heart of this Tory-led Government.

"The government's chaotic approach to immigration enforcement has meant 100,000 people have been quietly dumped into the 'untraceable' file and borders staff have given up on dealing with them."





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