BRITAIN’S IMMIGRATION system is in “intensive care”, the chair of an influential parliamentary committee has warned.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said a rising backlog of missing migrants and unresolved immigration cases had pushed the immigration system into a critical condition.
In its latest report on the work of the Home Office’s immigration directorates, the committee also hit out at the Government’s use of a single immigration target to reduce net migration to less than 100,000 – now broadly seen as unattainable – as “too blunt” and “arbitrary”. Mr Vaz said: “Our immigration system has left A&E and has entered intensive care.”
The committee hits out at the Government for sitting on Mr Vine’s reports.
“It is unacceptable for the Home Office to withhold from public view reports produced by the independent chief inspector of immigration and borders for longer than one month without providing a good reason,” the report said.
Turning to the Government’s net migration target, the committee said Ministers had failed to make a distinction between EU and non-EU migration.
Ministers have argued that the Government did not anticipate either an increase in EU immigration or a fall in emigration, but the committee said “this is not a sufficient explanation” for its failure to meet the target.
“An arbitrary target set by ministers, however well intentioned, only serves to reduce public confidence in the ability of any government to deliver a future pledge on immigration,” the report said.
“The Government also needs to be clear about which factors are and are not within its control, and about which migration flows it wishes to contain, and which it wishes to encourage.”
The committee also raised concerns about the Government’s plans to introduce exit checks at British ports. Ministers have said there will be 100 per cent exit checks on all passengers leaving the UK by March 31 next year.
But the group of MPs said it was concerned about “potential delays” and “risk to security” that such delays bring.
“Any queues that develop as a result will be highly visible and could have a serious negative impact on business, trade and tourism,” the report said.