In the Media

?Cynical? border agency decisions lose at appeal

PUBLISHED April 12, 2012

Thursday 12 April 2012 by Jonathan Rayner

'Bad and cynical' decision making lies behind the UK Border Agency's (UKBA) continued record of losing half of all appeals against orders to remove immigrants and failed asylum seekers, it was alleged today.

Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants legal policy director Hina Majid told the Gazette: 'Our experience of immigration and asylum casework is that we still see a lot of careless, bad and cynical decision making by the UKBA - and the high success rate on appeal is simply consistent with what we see on the ground.'

Majid was commenting on the Home Affairs Committee's third report of the year into the work of the UKBA, which said that 'systems must be put in place to improve the UKBA's appeal figures'.

In addition to losing so many appeals, the MPs' report, published yesterday, criticised the UKBA for failing to deport more than 600 foreign national prisoners who were released from jail between 1999 and 2006 and for spending more than £9m on iris scanners for border controls that are being scrapped after just five years.

The report also described the data provided to the committee by the UKBA as 'at best, confusing and at worst, misleading'.

Committee chair Keith Vaz MP (Labour) said: 'The reputation of the Home Office, and by extension, the UK government, is being tarnished by the inability of the UKBA to fulfil its basic functions. UKBA appears unable to focus on its key task of tracking and removing illegal immigrants, overstayers or bogus students from the country.

'The so-called "controlled archive", the dumping ground for cases where the UKBA has lost track of the applicant, will take a further four years to clear at the current rate of resolution. This is unacceptable. We are hopeful that the UKBA will now concentrate fully on the issues that are causing so much concern to the public and to parliament.'