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)
and UK visas are being met; the extent of implementation of recommendations
of recent reports and inquiries;
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.