UK Border Agency consigned to scrap heap after failures

Michael Bow
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THE UK Border Agency (UKBA) is set to close and its duties turned over to the Home Office after the government admitted yesterday it was wrong to place it at “arm’s length” from ministers.

Home secretary Theresa May said the agency, which was formed in 2008, had not lived up to its promise and would be split in two.

May told MPs: “The performance of what remains of UKBA is still not good enough. The agency struggles with the volume of its casework, which has led to historical backlogs running into the hundreds of thousands.

“UKBA was given agency status in order to keep its work at an arm’s length from ministers. That was wrong. It created a closed, secretive and defensive culture.”

The two new bits of the reformed entity will focus on the visa system and enforcing immigration law.

Yesterday’s move follows a damning report from MPs on Monday, which slammed the agency as “not fit for purpose”.

The move is the latest in a string of changes to the UK’s border patrol controls over the last few years.

May last year said that the enforcement part of the agency would be hived off as a separate entity called Border Force.

An IT upgrade is also planned in order to improve the UK immigration system’s creaking infrastructure.