SKY News interviewed LEXLAW Immigration Team Solicitor and Client in a report on the Home Office Affairs Committee which has today published its final report on the work of the UK Border Agency (UKBA), covering the period from January to March 2013.
The Committee found that 432,000 immigration cases still needed processing, and while that was 70,400 fewer than the previous quarter, most of that reduction was achieved simply by loading pending cases onto computer systems. It seems that in some cases such as those where applicants applied for further leave to remain on the basis of marriage or civil partnership—the backlog had actually grown.
UKBA Failings: Backlog of Over 430,000 Immigration Cases
The Committee found that by the time the UKBA was scrapped in March, the backlog of immigration cases was over 430,000.
Following the report, MP Keith Vaz, Committee chairman stated:
“There are still over 430,000 cases languishing in the backlogs, enough to fill Wembley Stadium almost five times over. As we have said on numerous occasions, the backlogs must be cleared as a matter of priority, only then will the Home Office be able to tackle the deeper problems in the immigration system.”
MP’s sitting on the Commitee recognised that most of the applicants affected by the UKBA’s failings, had waited many years to find out the outcome of their visa applications. It has now been recommended that the Home Office prioritise the conclusion of their cases and work fast to give them a swift decision.
UK Visa & Immigration Services Replaces UKBA
Since the UKBA has been scrapped, there are now two separate teams within the Home Office; an immigration and visa service team intended to improve visa service and customer service, and a second division which would concentrate on those caught breaking immigration laws.
Following the findings, the Immigration Minister Mark Harper stated:
“The UK Border Agency was a troubled organisation since its formation in 2008 and its performance was not good enough. That is why we split the Agency and brought its work into the Home Office under two distinct directorates.”
It is intended that UK Visas & Immigration will adopt a more customer-focused approach to its work. The report recognises that this is urgently required and MP’s hope that the re-organisation of immigration and visa services will provide the framework in which it can happen.
Our Immigration solicitor, Aisha Choudhry was interviewed yesterday by Rhiannon Mills of Sky News in relation to the failings of the UKBA and the Home Office’s restructuring of the organisation which many consider to amount to nothing more than rebranding. We remain uncertain that the Home Office will actually improve upon the efforts of the UKBA given that the same staff appear to be involved and the exercise therefore may well amount to little more than playing musical chairs.
Legal Advice for those Affected by Home Office Delays
If you are affected by the Home Office’s failings and delays in processing your visa application, contact our expert legal solicitors and barristers to discuss your immigration situation.