Tens of Thousands of Immigrants Illegally Entered Britain Under New Visa System

Telegraph (London), Rowena Mason, March 27, 2012

In a deeply critical study, the National Audit Office found a huge surge in students entering the country was largely fuelled by fake applications after a new visa system was introduced in 2009.

The report reveals the UK Border Agency probably let through 40,000 to 50,000 illegal students in this year, largely from India, Bangladesh and China. Most of these people have never been traced.

The number of illegal immigrants who pretended to be in education is more than ten times higher than the previous estimates.

Immigration officials took measures to tighten the system up by increasing checks on colleges and applicants, but the National Audit Office found its controls are still lacking.

Colleges have notified the UK Border Agency of more than 60,000 times of students not attending studies in breach of their visa conditions during the 18 months up until October 2011.

Official auditors believe many of these people are still in the country, as immigration staff do not regard removing them as a “priority”.

Margaret Hodge, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, said the UK Border Agency needs to “get a grip”

“This is one of the most shocking reports of poor management leading to abuse that I have seen,” Mrs Hodge said. “In the first year, student visas increased by one third, as 40,000 to 50,000 individuals probably used this route to work rather than to study. We will need to ask some important questions of those responsible.”

The report comes after a series of scandals engulfing the UK Border Agency over its control over immigration. Last year, it emerged the agency had relaxedBy Rowena Mason, Political Correspondent

UP to 50,000 immigrants illegally entered Britain by pretending to be students, a “shocking” report on the UK Border Agency will say today.

In a deeply critical study, the National Audit Office found a huge surge in foreign students was largely fuelled by fake applications after a new visa system was introduced in 2009.

The report reveals the UK Border Agency probably let through 40,000 to 50,000 illegal students in this year, largely from India, Bangladesh and China. Most of these people have never been traced.

The number of illegal immigrants who pretended to be in education is more than ten times higher than the previous estimates.

Immigration officials took measures to tighten the system up by increasing checks on colleges and applicants, but the National Audit Office found some of its controls are still “non compliant”.

Colleges have notified the UK Border Agency of more than 60,000 times of students not attending studies in breach of their visa conditions during the 18 months up until October 2011.

Official auditors believe many of these people are still in the country, as immigration staff do not regard removing them as a “priority”.

Margaret Hodge, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, said the UK Border Agency needs to “get a grip”

“This is one of the most shocking reports of poor management leading to abuse that I have seen,” Mrs Hodge said. “In the first year, student visas increased by one third, as 40,000 to 50,000 individuals probably used this route to work rather than to study. We will need to ask some important questions of those responsible.”

The report comes after a series of scandals engulfing the UK Border Agency over its control on immigration. Last year, it emerged the agency had relaxed passport checks on foreigners at ports and airports without consulting ministers, allowing extremists and criminals to enter Britain.

The UK Border Agency now admits it now has no idea how many fake students are in the UK or how many genuine students have remained in the country after their leave to remain has expired.

The new “points-based” immigration regime introduced by Labour was supposed to made it harder for unskilled immigrants to come to Britain by requiring them to demonstrate their usefulness to the economy.

However, the system relied much more heavily on students being “sponsored” by colleges and universities. It soon emerged that bogus colleges were accrediting thousands of visa applications, while other students were simply failing to turn to courses where they had enrolled.

The National Audit Office found only a third of colleges had been inspected by the UK Border Agency to make sure they were genuine before the system came into force.

The report also strongly criticises the UK Border Agency’s efforts to find fake students. The National Audit Office took 800 cases considered too difficult by the immigration authorities and traced a quarter of these people within a week at a cost of just £3,000.

Last night, Damian Green, the immigration minister, claimed the Government had introduced “radical reforms in order to stamp out abuse and restore order to the uncontrolled student visa system we inherited”.

passport checks on foreigners at ports and airports without consulting ministers, allowing extremists and criminals to enter Britain.

The UK Border Agency now admits it now has no idea how many fake students are in the UK or how many genuine students have remained in the country after their leave to remain has expired.

The new “points-based” immigration regime introduced by Labour was supposed to made it harder for unskilled immigrants to come to Britain by requiring them to demonstrate their usefulness to the economy.

However, the system relied much more heavily on students being “sponsored” by colleges and universities. It soon emerged that bogus colleges were accrediting thousands of visa applications, while other students were simply failing to turn to courses where they had enrolled.

The National Audit Office found only a third of colleges had been inspected by the UK Border Agency to make sure they were genuine before the system came into force.

The report also strongly criticises the efforts to find fake students. The National Audit Office took 800 cases considered too difficult by the immigration authorities and traced a quarter of these people within a week at a cost of just £3,000.

Last night, Damian Green, the immigration minister, claimed the Government had introduced “radical reforms in order to stamp out abuse and restore order to the uncontrolled student visa system we inherited”.

“These measures are beginning to bite, we have already seen the number of student visas issued drop considerably in the second half of 2011,” he said.

 

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  • Thanks for nothing, Labour party and supposedly “conservative” leaders.

  • Limit benefits to citizens of 1stworld nations and they will deport themselves, to a place that will tax their citizens so that 3rdworlders can breed.

  • JackKrak

    Something tells me that if I were a “student” in China that someone would come knocking on my door the first day after my visa expired.

  • KenelmDigby

    It was, of course, the deliberate and intentional policy of Britain’s former New Labour regime to abolish all immigration controls that existed at the time (they were derisory enough anyway), and by stealth and not informing a massively hostile British public, introduce a true ‘open borders’ policy, in which the entire world population (7 billion, approx) were absolutely free and unhindered to enter and settle permanently in Britain – just like those ‘clever chaps’ in such extreme right-wing  journals like the WSJ and ‘The Economist’ recommended, and bizarrely, the ‘working man’s party’ swallowed hook, line and sinker in a wish to appear ‘clever’ just like them, but made them look like the worst comedy dupes possible. That is just how sick, rotten and utterly, utterly morally bankrupt New Labour were – they were too cowardly to openly announce their policy (of which there was absolutely no mandate or legitimacy whatsoever), so sneaked it in like thieves in the night.

    If you don’t believe any of the above and think its all just twisted fantasy, well just google-up the words ‘Andrew Neather immigration’ – and you’ll find a wealth of material in which a very senior Labour Party apparatchik blew the gaffe on what actually happened.

  • KenelmDigby

    Unless there is a merciless and wholesale removal of the entire British political class from office in the very near future – absolutely nothing else will do – Britain is finished.

  • KenelmDigby

    Strangely enough ‘tertiary education’ in Britain is big business these days, the notion that education is a good above and beyond the market place has vanished.
     A lot of big, fat pay cheques for those running various educational institutions are dependent these days on a continual massive inflow of ‘foreign students’ into Britain, bogus or otherwise.
      The ‘big education business’ lobby has grown very powerful and vociferous they have teams of well paid lobbyists working for their own sefish financial interest and scream blue murder if they feel their paypackets are threatened. Weak and foolish Tory MPs are intimidated and overawed by them, so they get what the want ie big incomes, and in return Britain is flooded by sneak immigrants.
    It really is as cynical as that.

    • So who are the culprits?

      The university system.  Let’s find those responsible, and confront them.

  • loyalwhitebriton

    Margaret Hodge: “…We will need to ask some important questions of those responsible”.
    How hypocritical, and damn cheeky?!.
    Ms Hodge was a government Minister under the last (bloody awful!) Labour government; and it was the previous Labour government that brought in the deliberate open-door, mass immigration policy, one of the purposes of which was “..to rub the rights’ nose in diversity”.
    Well we sure are having our snouts rubbed in it now, there’s no escaping its stench!.
    The current CON-DEM coalition doesn’t seem to be doing much about it either, just more hot air.
    It also appears that the UKBA had its own agenda, by relaxing entry controls without consulting Ministers. Bureaucracies like the UKBA are stuffed, especially at the management level, with university educated liberal types.
    Give the job of policing our ports and borders to the Army!.