Report highlights backlog of migrant 'overstayers'

17 Dec 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Applying for a UK visa is a complicated process for migrants, but it appears that those responsible for the system are also struggling to keep track of things as one report has shown the Home Office failed to deal with a backlog of over 174,000 foreign national who should have been removed form the country.

John Vine, the independent inspector of immigration, said that significant improvements are required from the Home Office in order to deal with people who are either refused a UK visa or who overstay a visa that they have legally been awarded.

The problem in tracking migrants was found by Mr Vine to have arisen from a contract the Home Office signed over to private outsourcing group Capita to review and close, if possible, the records of people who had come to the UK but been refused leave to stay.

"Significant inaccuracies" in the company's classification of migrant records were found by the inspector and his team. In response to the issue, a spokeswoman for Capita rejected the claims that it had incorrectly classified passport records or incorrectly used information on passengers.

Mr Vine commented: "I was disappointed to find a high level of inaccuracy in the classification of migration refusal records, with more than a quarter of departures in my sample being incorrectly recorded.

"Considerable improvements in the Home Office's capability to monitor, progress, and prioritise the immigration enforcement caseload will be needed to deliver its strategy for reducing the level of irregular migration."

UK immigration minister James Brokenshire took the findings on board, but suggested that the government's actions need to be judged over a longer period of time as changes are being implemented to improve the department.