Large numbers of people are being “waved through” the visa system to allow them entry to Britain, think tank Migrationwatch UK claimed today.
It said an “unrelenting increase” in applications for visas to the UK was “making the task of controlling Britain’s already porous borders even worse”.
The report highlighted concern in countries which might be considered security risks.
Migrationwatch said that 96 per cent of visitors visas from Pakistan—75,000 in 2003-2004—were granted without the applicants being interviewed.
And in Algeria in the same year all 11,000 visitors visas were granted without the applicants being interviewed by consular officials.
In other countries applicants often received only a “cursory interview”, said Migrationwatch.
Chairman Sir Andrew Green said: “At a time when we have very real security fears it is completely unacceptable that large numbers of people are, in effect, being waved through the system because of the pressure on immigration staff to meet targets.
“And of course once here, even if they overstay, they know there is little chance of ever being removed. It makes a mockery of the concept of managed migration.”
The organisation said National Audit Office figures showed nearly two million visa applications were made in 2002-2003, an increase of 33 per cent over the previous five years.