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West Ham Cockney Boys

    Why the country is in a mess . Long

    1st team

    Posts : 5327
    Join date : 2011-02-18
    Age : 34
    Location : Scandyland

    Why the country is in a mess . Long Empty Why the country is in a mess . Long

    Post  Admin Thu 22 Nov 2012, 8:24 am

    A shambles! The truth about our leaky borders... Lack of checks let thousands of illegal immigrants stay in Britain

    UK Border Agency allowed tens of thousands of illegal immigrants to remain in UK without proper checks
    Thousands of foreign nationals were granted an 'amnesty' without their files being looked at
    Officials also repeatedly misled Parliament over what was happening, a Government inspector found
    By Jack Doyle and James Slack

    PUBLISHED: 00:06 GMT, 22 November 2012 | UPDATED: 07:39 GMT, 22 November 2012

    Failed bid: UK Border Agency staff remove a man hidden in a lorry in the French port of Calais

    Tens of thousands of illegal immigrants and failed asylum seekers were allowed to stay in the UK without proper checks in yet another borders scandal, it emerged last night.

    A Government inspector found that thousands of foreign nationals were granted an ‘amnesty’ without their files even being looked at.

    Officials at the shambolic UK Border Agency (UKBA) also ignored evidence of deception and fraud by applicants whose cases dated back up to 17 years.

    Some 124,000 cases were put in cold storage without proper checks to see if the applicant could be found. It has since emerged 37,500 people involved could have been easily located and potentially booted out.

    A further 10,000 cases classified as having ‘legal barriers to removal’ had, in fact, just never been opened.

    Officials also repeatedly misled Parliament over what was happening, according to John Vine, the chief inspector of Borders and Immigration.

    The grave charge has infuriated MPs and could trigger a new inquiry by the home affairs select committee. Its chairman, Keith Vaz, said last night: ‘This is a devastating report. The failure to properly check asylum cases means UKBA is in danger of overseeing an effective amnesty for many of them.

    'The failure to properly check asylum cases means UKBA is in danger of overseeing an effective amnesty for many of them'

    Home affairs select committee chairman Keith Vaz

    ‘It appears that senior officials of the UKBA have misled the committee about facts and figures. To mislead a committee of the House is an extremely serious matter.

    ‘Those same officials . . . have all received bonuses. On the basis of this report, they should hand them back immediately.’

    One official who gave false information to the committee, Lin Homer, has since been promoted to chief executive at HM Revenue and Customs on £175,000 a year.

    Mr Vine’s explosive report lays bare the incompetence and confusion which took hold in the Home Office when 450,000 historic claims were unearthed by former Home Secretary John Reid in 2006.

    A deadline of April 2011 was set to clear the so-called legacy backlog, which involved 500,000 files.

    'Devastating report': Officials at the UK Border Agency ignored evidence of deception and fraud by applicants whose cases dated back up to 17 years

    The Mail has repeatedly highlighted how a huge number of the applications were being rubber-stamped. Mr Vine’s report puts a final figure on the number officially given asylum under this amnesty – an astonishing 172,000.

    But he also reveals what happened to the tens of thousands of cases where UKBA officials insisted the applicants could not be found.

    In November 2010, then agency chief executive Miss Homer told MPs that 100,000 cases were put in a controlled archive only after a ‘significant number of checks’. Miss Homer left the agency in January 2011.

    'We have known for some time that UKBA is a troubled organisation with a poor record of delivery'

    Home Office spokesman

    In April that year, acting chief executive Jonathan Sedgwick told the home affairs committee that each controlled archive case had been checked ‘against 19 databases – Government, Home Office, private sector databases’.

    But a sample of cases examined by Mr Vine found that just 4 per cent had been subject to external checks.

    In the months leading up to April 2011, cases were put in the archive on the basis that no trace could be found of the asylum seeker. But, the report found, in many such cases that was simply because officials in the unit processing them – the Case Resolution Directorate – had not opened the post to find letters from lawyers.

    In April 2011, the remaining cases were moved to the Case Assurance and Audit Unit, based in Liverpool, which quickly became ‘overwhelmed’. It took on 147,000 cases, with fewer that 100 staff.

    Such was the chaos that 150 boxes of post were found unopened in the new unit. In the following months, vast numbers of cases were fast-tracked, with just 13 per cent of applicants refused the right to remain here. Some were allowed to stay despite ‘multiple examples of deception’ and even imprisonment for fraud.

    'Shambles': A Government inspector found thousands of foreign nationals were granted an 'amnesty' by the UK Border Agency without their files even being looked at

    Case workers routinely granted migrants the right to stay under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act because they had been here so long, and applicants’ statements were accepted at face value.

    There was, the report said, ‘little evidence in a number of cases to demonstrate that they were being considered on their individual merits’.

    In a desperate bid to clear the cases, managers allowed case workers to grant the right to stay without even opening the file. Some 3,750 cases were decided this way.

    Of the controlled archive cases examined by the inspectors, on average they were not dealt with for more than seven years and one was not opened for 17 years.

    Once external checks were finally carried out this year, 31,000 migrants whose cases had been archived were ‘found’. Even now, many individuals are not being chased down immediately because of ‘insufficient resources’.

    Mr Vine said: ‘I found that updates given by the agency to Parliament in the summer of 2011, stating that the legacy of unresolved asylum cases was resolved, were inaccurate.’

    A Home Office spokesman said: ‘We have known for some time that UKBA is a troubled organisation with a poor record of delivery. Turning the agency around will take time, but we are making progress.’


    James Slack's ANALYSIS

    Five years ago, when the Mail revealed on its front page that ‘as many as 165,000 asylum seekers are to be granted an “amnesty” to live in Britain’, there were howls of protest from the Home Office.

    Officials insisted it was nothing of the sort and that each and every case would be judged exhaustively on its merits, while the pro-immigration lobby dismissed the 165,000 figure as ‘scare-mongering’.

    Today, we discover the truth.

    Of 479,000 historic cases considered by the Home Office under the so-called ‘legacy exercise’, 172,000 have been granted asylum, while only 37,500 people have been removed.

    A further 268,000 files were bundled into a category marked ‘other’. In some cases the files were duplicates, but more than 100,000 applications were flung into what officials called a ‘controlled archive’.

    As today’s report reveals, it was anything but ‘controlled’ – with few or no checks being carried out to trace the illegal immigrants and asylum seekers involved.

    Thousands of people – including criminals and people who told blatant lies on their asylum claims – are walking the streets years after they should have been kicked out.

    Over-stretched staff were rubber-stamping thousands of claims to stay without even opening the paper files.

    UK Border Agency staff dealt with the backlog of cases so inefficiently that at one point 100,000 pieces of post from lawyers, MPs and others were unopened. As an exercise in incompetence, it can hardly be bettered.

    But to make matters worse we now learn how Home Office officials repeatedly misled Parliament over the scale of the scandal.

    Checks which MPs were assured had taken place simply did not happen.
    And the official who presided over much of this shambles? Lin Homer, the one-time £200,000-a-year head of the UKBA, has not been dismissed or even disciplined.

    Indeed, she has been promoted to chief executive and permanent secretary of the HMRC – which collects the tax required for the country to function. Chancellor George Osborne should be very afraid.

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