UK immigration system in need of reform, John Vine claims

07 Aug 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The outgoing chief inspector of borders and UK immigration has said that the country's immigration system is in need of reform.

John Vine quit his position last week and in an interview with the Independent newspaper suggested that the entire immigration issue has become "toxic", as recent media attention has demonstrated.

He told the paper that his position had been to ensure that those working their way through the UK visa and asylum systems were treated with respect. Mr Vine said: "Clearly there are people who are economic migrants and want a better life in the UK and may claim asylum as a way of achieving that. Again, those people deserve to be treated fairly and within the law. My job is to ensure that the Home Office does that and if they are refused asylum – again they are treated with respect."

The reports produced by the chief inspector reportedly demonstrated a "chaotic" immigration system. However, through his six years in his position he made significant progress in reforming the processes and management involved.

A total of 50 reports were published for the agency during his time in office, including some controversial papers that revealed the huge backlog in UK visa applications and several sets of data that have been suggested to demonstrate that the Home Secretary Theresa May has lost her handle on the system.

Despite this, Mr Vine himself rejected suggestions that his resignation came about as a result of frustrations with dealing with Ms May.

A spokesman told the BBC that among the changes that Mr Vine's reports helped to bring about was the decision to split up the "weak and ineffective" UK Border Agency.

The spokesman said: "That decision - along with our other immigration reforms - is transforming our broken immigration system and replacing it with one that is fair to British citizens and legitimate migrants and tough on those who abuse the system and flout the law."