Select Committee on Home Affairs Fifth Report


The Committee's inquiry

1. In October 2005 the Committee decided to inquire into the policy and practice of immigration control, examining the entry clearance (visa) system, the granting or refusing of further leave in the UK and the enforcement of immigration control. The inquiry considered the degree to which the stated aims of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND)[1] and UK visas are being met; the extent of implementation of recommendations of recent reports and inquiries;[2] and lessons to be learnt from the operation of the current system that might inform the implementation of the new Government policy.

2. In the course of the inquiry we received 128 items of written evidence with numerous annexes and appendices, including much detailed information from the Home Office and other government departments. We held 12 evidence sessions between December 2005 and June 2006. In addition we visited the IND in Croydon, the Immigration Service at Heathrow and the nearby Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre, the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal and Home Office Presenting Officers' Unit in London, the immigration controls in Calais, and UKvisas' operations in posts in Nigeria, Ghana, Pakistan and India. We would like to thank all those who gave us evidence in writing, in person or during our visits, and those who helped arrange the visits.

3. In addition to the staff of the Committee, we received invaluable assistance from the Committee Office Scrutiny Unit and from our three specialist advisers, Dr Heaven Crawley, Professor Guy Goodwin-Gill and Fiona Lindsley.

1   A list of abbreviations can be found at the end of this report. Back

2   In the last five years there have been dozens of parliamentary and independent reports on aspects of immigration and asylum. A selective list is annexed to this report. Back

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Prepared 23 July 2006