The Home Office has no UK immigration record of departure of more than 600,000 overseas nationals who should have left Britain, according to an inspection report.
The UK immigration watchdog has revealed the figure while simultaneously accusing the government of “over-promising” when it laid out plans to introduce exit checks.
Originally introduced in 2015, the government stated that the scheme should provide the country with a better idea of how immigrants move to and from Britain. However, the latest review suggests a number of failures have resulted in issues in collecting data.
Specifically, the figures showed that there were around 10 million people recorded by the Home Office system whose UK visas expired in the next two years. However, of those listed, there was no evidence of the departure of 601,222.
This included over 500,000 “non-visa nationals” from countries that do not require a UK visa to travel to Britain as a visitor. The remaining migrants are “visa nationals” who have arrived in the UK from countries that require travellers to obtain a visa prior to their arrival.
Commenting on the numbers, Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, David Bolt, said: “Overall, the sense was that the Home Office had over-promised when setting out its plans for exit checks.”
“The Home Office needed to be more careful about presenting exit checks as the answer to managing the illegal migrant population, which for now remained wishful thinking.”