UKBA overstays its welcome

Home Secretary, Theresa May, said in an unscheduled Commons statement last week that the UK Border Agency is to be abolished.

Home Secretary, Theresa May, said the agency had failed to balance the sheets in its five-year run and described it as a “troubled organisation” with a secretive culture.

May highlighted four main problems at the heart of the UKBA: the size; its lack of transparency; outdated IT systems; and the unsatisfactory policy and legal framework.

But the main motivation for her decision is poor performance, which she says has resulted in a backlog of more than 300 000 unresolved asylum and immigration cases.

Mrs May also said the agency was reactive and “all too often focuses on the crisis in hand at the expense of other important work.”

Blaming the previous government for introducing such an inefficient government agency, May announced that the functions of the UKBA will be handed back to the Home Office and essentially split in two: one division to deal with legitimate Visa applications and queries, and the other to deal with illegal immigrants, as well as, asylum matters. Both these divisions will be accountable to May and Immigration Minister, Mark Harper.

The decision was signed off by David Cameron and welcomed by MPs – hardly a surprise considering how much criticism the agency has received since its inception. But shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper felt differently, claiming that problems with immigration have deteriorated further on May’s watch.

“Enforcement has got worse, delays have got worse, 50 % fewer people are being refused entry at ports and borders, and you said the number of illegal immigrants removed does not keep up with the number here illegally – that’s because you’re letting rather more of them in.”

Mrs May revealed in her statement that the Home Office would present a new draft bill to parliament in its next session, aimed at simplifying immigration law and its guidelines.

We can only hope that the splitting of functions will make it easier for legitimate visa applicants. If you would like to make sure you aren’t refused by inefficiencies, use 1st Contact Visas.


  • KD

    I agree it needs to be sorted out and desperately.

    But what about sorting out the backlog first and giving people some kind of assurance that their applications are being dealt with…

  • RayJay

    I can totally attest for the shoddiness of UKBA.
    Took my passport for 9 months, refused to give me information.
    It wasn’t I gave up and asked for my stuff back so I could leave the UK that I actually received a residence permit. But I still left anyway. I had been working for years to be with my husband in the UK and I was left Depressed and with so little confidence even now 5 months after being home in Australia I’m still negatively afftected by it. It doesn’t help that we spent so much money waiting and not being able to work and on different visas that could’ve just been one visa. I am still not with my husband. UK government needs to sort that stuff out.