The Home Affairs Committee’s Eighth Report on the work of the UK Border Agency was published today. Rhiannon Mills of SKY NEWS met with Aisha Choudhry of LEXLAW’s Immigration Team to discuss the negative impact of the UKBA’s immigration backlog on UK Visa and Immigration Applications (which better the UK’s economic prosperity).
The SKY News interview is in light of the Home Affairs Committee’s Eighth Report on the work of the UK Border Agency which was published today. The report focuses on the work of the UK Border Agency and has found that the Home Office still has a backlog of 432,000 cases and that these cases must be ‘cleared as a matter of priority’.
The Home Secretary explained the rationale for disbanding the UKBA and replacing it with two new entities:
In [the Agency’s] place will be an immigration and visa service, and an immigration law enforcement organisation. By creating two entities instead of one, we will be able to create distinct cultures. The first will be a high-volume service that makes high-quality decisions about who comes here, with a culture of customer satisfaction for business men and visitors who want to come here legally. The second will be an organisation that has law enforcement at its heart and gets tough on those who break our immigration laws.
The Home Affairs Committee concluded it was too early to evaluate the operational impact of the abolition of the UK Border Agency but interestingly noted that the reporting to the committee itself by the Home Office was, in what is becoming it’s inimitable style, routinely delayed. The Committee noted in conclusion that (emphasis added):
In real terms that the backlog of cases awaiting resolution has only been reduced by 19,421. The Home Office still do not appear to be getting to grips with this issue. The backlog is still at an astonishing 432,029, which will mean at current levels it will still take over 5 years to clear, notwithstanding the addition of new cases or the discovery of new backlogs. The Committee reiterate our previous recommendation made on numerous occasions that the backlogs must be cleared as a matter of priority.
The Home Office’s backlog and delay in processing UK visa applications is an issue affecting businesses and other migrants and visitors to the UK that ought to be welcomed and encouraged. Many visa applicants, who have submitted their applications to the Home Office, are forced to wait for many months and even years for the final outcome of their applications. This heavily impacts their ability to work, study, open bank accounts or register with GPs whilst their application is pending consideration.