Vaz panel warns against UK immigration backlog
London: A House of Commons committee headed by Indian-origin British MP Keith Vaz has issued a stern warning against the mounting immigration backlog in the UK.
The all-party Home Affairs Select Committee has found that the number of pending cases involving foreigners coming into the country had jumped to 502,000 at the end of 2012, which could take until the year 2050 to clear.
"The backlog of cases has now hit a staggering half a million people. This could fill Wembley Stadium to capacity six times over," said Vaz, who chairs the influential parliamentary committee.
"It has risen by 56 per cent in just three months. At the current rate it will take 37 years to clear and the Home Office cannot confirm that this is the last of the backlogs.
"There should be no more bonuses paid to any senior management at the Home Office until the backlogs are cleared," he added.
The committee have now demanded further information from UK home secretary Theresa May, who had split up the UK Border Agency (UKBA) earlier this year in order to tackle immigration failures.
In the committee's report released this week, MPs expressed concern that the Home Office had split the backlog into smaller chunks to "disguise the full extent" of the situation, as well as using other methods to "massage" the figures.
An extra 190,000 in the backlog came to light when Sarah Rapson, the new head of the UK visas and immigration section, gave evidence to the committee last month.
The group is known as the "temporary and permanent migration pool", but the committee said details of the type of immigrants it contained were still unclear.
"The Home Office must clarify the total number of cases in the temporary and permanent migration pool, exactly what the cases are and the maximum length of time that cases in this backlog have been outstanding," the report said.
The UKBA's spending on external consultants had increased 20-fold at the end of the year from 27,000 pound to more than 500,000 pound, the report highlighted.
"The UKBA was a troubled organisation for many years, which is why the Home Secretary took the decision to split the agency. It will take a long time to clear the backlogs we inherited, but through the changes we have made we are in a much stronger position to do so," said immigration minister Mark Harper.