The home secretary Theresa May has promised to investigate how it came to be that people with every right to be in the UK received messages telling them to leave the country.
The UK Border Agency (UKBA) recently hired private company Capita to track down 174,000 immigrants who were living in the country illegally from September. The firm took on the £40 million contract but problems in its methods soon arose and reports from immigration lawyers suggest that legitimate migrants have also received the messages.
Ms May was pressed by Julian Hupert, the Lib Dem home affairs spokesman, earlier this week (Monday January 7th) on the issue at the Home Office questions in the Commons. The home secretary vowed to look into any individual cases for which Mr Hupert could provide details.
Messages were even sent out over the Christmas period, leaving many people distressed and worried about where they stood.
The information was distributed through a text message from Capita, which read: “Message from the UK Border Agency: You are required to leave the UK as you no longer have the right to remain.” It went on to encourage recipients to contact the UKBA immediately.
Capita explained that it had sent out the messages using information provided by the UKBA. A statement from the group read: “A contact telephone number is provided for applicants to discuss their case, and any individual contacted who believes they have valid leave should make use of this number.
"Capita has been instructed to contact individuals regardless of their legal representation as many of the details the UK Border Agency has on file may be inaccurate and out of date given the age of the cases."
Anybody who is concerned about their right to remain is encouraged to contact a UK immigration adviser about their situation.