The work of the UK Border Agency (November 2010-March 2011) - Home Affairs Committee Contents

Examination of Witness (Question Numbers 75-105)

Mr John Vine CBE QPM

17 May 2011

Q75 Chair: We now change topics for the purposes of a one-off review of the work of the Independent Chief Inspector of the UKBA. Mr Vine, thank you very much for coming today to give evidence. As you know, we like to, as a Committee, see the Independent Chief Inspector from time to time. Can I also place on record my thanks to you and your staff for the work that you do? I think that when you last appeared before us the Committee was perhaps concerned as to what your role was, whether it would be independent enough, whether you could combine the two previous roles that covered your area, but I think I can say that I have been very impressed with the work that you have done, both praising and criticising the Home Office—a very difficult feat sometimes— and I think that they have been very helpful. So thank you very much, and thank you for keeping this Committee informed on a regular basis as to what you do.

In a report last year, the Ombudsman alleged that many of the problems of the UKBA were caused by the sudden change of policy priorities. Do you think that the fact that policy decisions are now going to be taken in the Home Office itself rather than the UKBA is going to hinder the process of proper immigration control?

Mr Vine: Well, thank you for your opening remarks, Chairman. The question you pose is not something, of course, I have looked at as part of my inspection programme. What I am concerned to look at is the efficiency and effectiveness of the organisation in whatever format it is configured by policymakers, and I believe at the moment those changes haven't taken place; no new head of the organisation has been appointed. So I think it would be difficult for me to comment and perhaps wrong for me to speculate on whether that split of function would have an impact on the day-to-day operation of the agency.

Q76 Chair: The National Audit Office has today published a report through the auspices of the Committee of Public Accounts—I don't know whether you have seen this report—which estimates that 180,000 workers who are staying in the UK without permission because their leave has expired but they haven't renewed their right to be here.

Mr Vine: Yes.

Chair: You are aware of that figure? Is it a surprise to you?

Mr Vine: No, I am aware of the figure from the original report that the Committee received. Of course, I contributed to that debate with my own report, the Tier 2 report, where I found there was an equal concern about the Border Agency's capability of identifying those people who remained in the UK who should have had their leave curtailed. At the time I did my report the Border Agency weren't able to tell me how many people were in that category. They subsequently told me there were 150, and there were 3,000—

Q77 Chair: So those are official figures, 150,000 people?

Mr Vine: No, 150.

Chair: People?

Mr Vine: People, and that was the figure I put in my report.

Chair: Right, okay. That is a bit different from 181,000.

Mr Vine: It is. Well, 181,000 of course covers— I think the PAC report covered the whole of the visa categories. I was looking specifically at Tier 2, but the same issue applies in that the agency couldn't tell me at the time of inspection how many people remained in the UK under Tier 2 and who should have had their leave curtailed. They then came up some months later with a figure of 150, plus a figure of 3,000 notifications that had been made by sponsoring employers to the organisation. I believe that figure has now gone up to 4,000 notifications, and that was in their response to my recommendations. I think it is unacceptable that the Border Agency is not able to provide an accurate figure, to know the figure and, indeed, have a systematic process of enforcing the curtailment of leave under Tier 2.

Chair: Indeed. I think you will find that the Committee will find that unsatisfactory as well, and we will certainly pursue that ourselves.

Q78 Mr Clappison: Just to take that slightly further, how do you explain, or how do they explain, the difference between the 4,000 figure and the 150, because in each case of the 4,000 there would be somebody who was working here and they should have their leave curtailed?

Mr Vine: Yes. Under the sponsorship system, the sponsor has a responsibility to notify the Border Agency of a change in circumstances. That may range from somebody coming to the end of their time under Tier 2 and then they have 60 days before their leave needs to be curtailed, but it could also mean that somebody has moved from that employer to another employer. So they have to go through that figure to discover out of that 4,000 figure how many then need to be curtailed, so that is the difference. It is the same with the Tier 4 sponsorship system. Where you have a system that relies on sponsorship, the agency still has a responsibility, I think, to have processes in place that can ensure that there is compliance with the system.

Q79 Mr Clappison: Yes, and also with the sponsors. Can I move on to the sponsors, because you also had things to say about enforcement in terms of inspection of sponsor employers.

Mr Vine: Yes.

Mr Clappison: What would be your view of what best practice would be and where improvements can be made?

Mr Vine: I made recommendations for the agency to go back to its register of sponsors and check that it was accurate and up to date, because I discovered in the inspection that at the time of the creation of Tier 2 at least 6,000 sponsors had been placed on the system without having a prelicensing visit. So, while all the mandatory checks, the police checks, had been made in relation to sponsors, there is a danger that there are sponsors on the system who haven't had a prelicensing check, and so I think the Border Agency should go back and relook at the sponsor database. That was the view of many of the staff who I interviewed when I was conducting the inspection. Furthermore, they should have a system in place to ensure that they keep that up to date.

Q80 Mr Clappison: Do you think the UKBA have the resources to do that?

Mr Vine: I am aware, of course, that as in every other Government Department, resources are going to be increasingly tight, but I think it places an obligation on the Border Agency to work smarter, to take more of an intelligence-led approach. I know it is a bit of jargon but I think it means that they have to work smarter to achieve the same result with fewer resources. So it almost places an obligation on them to do better.

Q81 Bridget Phillipson: We frequently hear anecdotal evidence about the police picking up individuals who are then identified as illegal immigrants, or individuals or colleges or other public bodies making reports to the UKBA about people they believe have overstayed and should no longer be in the UK, but the problem with that appears to be that that is not always followed up, or certainly they don't feel that they have confidence that those cases are followed up. If it is not the job for the UKBA, who should be doing it? If it is their job, why is there such a problem with public confidence around that area of enforcement?

Mr Vine: I reported last week. I published two reports, one on the use of intelligence by the Border Agency and a report, it was a short notice inspection of an enforcement visit, and I think they go to the heart of your question. Every year, over 100,000 pieces of information come in to the Border Agency from the public, from the police and other organisations. It averages out at about 2,000 a week. I found the Border Agency had a process of analysing that information, but couldn't tell me what the outcome of any of it was. So they couldn't, for example, tell me as a result of the 100,000 pieces of information they got last year how many immigration offences had been detected, how many persons had been arrested, how many individuals had been deported as a result. I said it was unacceptable in the report; I stick by that comment. I think they need to be far more outcome-focused in their analysis of information and intelligence to ensure that the situation you describe improves dramatically and that people can see as a result of assisting the Border Agency in this way that something happens as a result: either immigration offences are detected or there is an outcome.

Clearly there is joint work required between the police and other agencies and the Border Agency. In my intelligence report, I did find that the agency were improving the ways in which they were working with other agencies, particularly with organisations like the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the police and others, but I did feel as though there was more intelligence that could be gleaned through partnerships with colleges, information perhaps that case workers who are interviewing applicants for asylum might give them. There is a whole range of information that I think could be tapped into.

Q82 Bridget Phillipson: During the course of our inquiry into forced marriage we received some evidence that in those cases where a victim of forced marriage may make reports to the UKBA that they didn't want that person brought into the country, it wasn't a marriage they wanted to support, it wasn't always possible for them to receive updated information from the UKBA. I appreciate that there are some difficulties around this, but whether the UKBA could look to make sure that where people have shared information, an action has been taken, that that person, particularly in the rather delicate situation of forced marriage, could receive information that could make them a lot safer.

Just to give one further example, when I managed a women's refuge we would make reports where we had it around the immigration status of perpetrators of domestic violence. Certainly I did that on a number of occasions where the woman was very clear that the person had overstayed. It was impossible to ever receive any update as to whether action had been taken, which would have put the victim at a reduced risk of harm and would have given real reassurance, and could have ultimately helped the police, helped other agencies.

Mr Vine: Yes, I entirely accept that, and I found that time and time again in a number of reports, for example when I looked at the removal of families who had no right to remain in the UK that was a feature, the fact that the Border Agency need to tailor much more their response to the needs of individual families. But you will be pleased to know that in my inspection plan for this year, I am proposing to look at sham marriages as a specific thematic inspection.

Q83 Chair: That is very helpful, but the point that Bridget Phillipson makes is echoed by the Committee. We are having this long running not dispute but discussion with the UK Border Agency over data protection issues. Exactly as she said, if somebody comes into this country as the spouse of a British citizen and that person has come here unlawfully and the British citizen complains to the UK Border Agency about their spouse, they are not even kept informed as to whether or not that person has been removed from the country. They hide behind data protection issues. We had the Information Commissioner here a few weeks ago, and he said that this should be looked at on a case-by-case basis. Where is the data protection issue where the person who is in this country is fraudulently here? Do you understand the point?

Mr Vine: Yes, I understand the point. It is not something I have looked at specifically, but it is something—

Q84 Chair: No, but could we ask you to look at it, and join us in our crusade to try and get to the bottom of this?

Mr Vine: I am always willing, Chair, as you know, to listen to anybody who wants to inform me about where I should prioritise my work, so yes, I will certainly take that on board.

Chair: Because obviously we are here to be helpful. If somebody is here unlawfully, they have abused their wives or their spouses and they should not be here, they may then get indefinite leave, because the system isn't perfect, and then bring another spouse into the country. How can that be helpful?

Mr Vine: Yes, I understand.

Q85 Mark Reckless: It may be that some of the problems that employers have found with Tier 2 visas have been under the temporary cap, but I wonder if there is a longer term issue, and perhaps as you have identified in your report. Do you think the issue can be dealt with satisfactorily by UKBA improving its guidance to employers?

Mr Vine: Yes, except I would say that when I have spoken to staff in relation to the Tier 2 inspection, invariably they say there is a tremendous amount of guidance and it changes very regularly. One of the problems that they feel that they have to cope with is an ever-changing landscape in terms of the guidance. So, yes, I think the guidance has improved and the agency has improved its guidance in a number of areas as a result of the recommendations that I have made, I am pleased to say. But I was talking to an entry clearance officer only the other day and one of the issues that they raised—in fact, they thrust into my hand the latest Tier 2 guidance that had just come from the Border Agency—and the point that they were making was, "We have just got used to the guidance. Sometimes the new guidance doesn't indicate where it has changed from the old guidance". So it is not received with tracked changes, so it is difficult for the staff to know. So I think it could help, but I think there is an issue as well of overburdening staff with too many changes too frequently.

Q86 Mark Reckless: Could we deal with the issue of this great complexity of all the guidance and the difficulty that sponsor employers have with it simply by auctioning the pool of Tier 2 visas so that firms can sort of bid and we just have a market clearing price for them?

Mr Vine: I think the conclusion I came to about the whole system—and it is endorsed, I think, by the PAC report—is that essentially it is a very fair and straightforward system if it is applied consistently, but what I often find, and I think employers find this as well, is that there is an inconsistency very often in the way that it is managed. A good example of that was when I looked at three locations where Tier 2 visas were issued. We looked at Sheffield, which is the UK hub, Manila and Mumbai. There is a tremendous disparity of practice between all three locations. For example, in Sheffield, case workers deal with five cases a day. In Manila, it is 35 to 40 a day. In Mumbai, it is between 45 and 55 a day. So there is an inconsistency in the approach to looking at the applications and granting the visas. I think there needs to be more consistency by the Border Agency across the piece in the way that it manages the process. That was a recommendation I made, and the Border Agency have accepted all the recommendations, so I think they acknowledge that that is an issue.

Q87 Chair: We understand that some of this work was outsourced and people came in to help with the case work, is that right, the legacy cases in particular?

Mr Vine: Yes, I think that is the case.

Q88 Mr Winnick: The latest quarterly figures, Mr Vine, show that on asylum—and I emphasise asylum cases—the situation is that some 27 cases, appeals, were allowed, 67 dismissed and six withdrawn. Do you think that is the right balance considering that over a quarter were allowed? In other words, the agency lost the case.

Mr Vine: I am concerned generally about the Border Agency's approach to appeals, and this is something that concerns me across the whole spectrum of work I look at, not just asylum. For example, the successful appeal rate at the moment, I think, in relation to visas is 47%, which is extremely high.

Mr Winnick: Indeed. Much higher clearly than asylum, which I have quoted as 27%.

Mr Vine: That is right. In Tier 2, just going back to the Tier 2 report, I think it was 36%. So it varies enormously and there seems to be a varying sort of approach, depending on which parts of the Border Agency I inspect, as to whether that is something that should be looked into. For example, it was a very positive aspect of the Tier 2 report that they were very concerned to look at their appeal rate and learn from it, although what they concluded from that was that they didn't have enough presenting officers in court and that is why they were losing the appeals, at least in part.

In relation to visas, when I had a look, for example, at the visa regime in Islamabad and Abu Dhabi, I was concerned to find that there seemed to be no willingness at all to look at the high appeal rate and the reasons why the Border Agency were losing so many cases. In fact, at the time I was there they were losing 52% of all their decisions. As a former chief constable, if I was losing that sort of number of cases at court I think I would be having quite a few senior officers around the table and asking a few difficult questions about whether we knew how to put evidence together in a court case. So I think I would like to see much more activity and urgency on the part of the Border Agency generally in attempting to get the decision right first time and reducing the number of appeals, perhaps by setting a target for the reduction of appeals from where it is across a range of categories at the moment.

Q89 Mr Winnick: The argument of the Home Office, the presenting officers, or at least the spin they put on this, is that the situation has changed and while the adjudicator, according to the immigration rules, should consider the case as it was when the application was made and refused, he or she—the adjudicator, or rather the immigration judge nowadays—takes into consideration as well the present circumstances. Do you think there is any substance to that argument?

Mr Vine: Yes, there is some substance to that, but I don't think it accounts for the high appeal rate generally. I think there is some substance to that, but I am publishing a report on Friday in relation to a presenting officers unit in Scotland, which will give more information. Clearly, I can't talk about that at the moment. I think part of the problem as well is that when the new asylum model was brought in to create a new approach to deciding asylum cases, what was brought in with it was a concept of there being no presenting officers but the case workers going to the tribunal and presenting their own cases. I think what the Border Agency has found is that in practical terms this has not always worked, because it would mean that many of the case workers would be leaving to travel some distance in some cases to the court, and obviously not being there to carry on and deal with their case workload. So what we have is a mixed approach at the moment. Some parts of the UKBA have a presenting officers unit still; other parts of the Border Agency use case workers who go along in accordance with the theory of the new asylum model.

Q90 Mr Winnick: Mr Vine, there is speculation around—or perhaps more than a speculation, though no official statement has been made—that the Government is considering abolishing the right of appeal for visitors, which of course at the moment is restricted, and has been since it was reintroduced, to family visitors. In that case, if it did come about, the Government or the appropriate agency, the UKBA, would be judge and jury in their own case, wouldn't they?

Mr Vine: I go back to the point I made, that when I have examined these cases, I would like to see a much better appeal rate than currently exists, and I think the Border Agency should concentrate on getting the decision right much more frequently than it does.

Q91 Mr Winnick: But if there is no appeal, there will be no incentive to do that.

Mr Vine: Well, yes, if that were the case, but as far as I am aware, that is not policy, that has been a leaked report to the newspaper and it is not something, I don't think, I can comment on at the present time.

Mr Winnick: It wouldn't have been in the newspapers unless it had been well leaked but, as you say, that is not your responsibility at the moment.

Q92 Bridget Phillipson: Just to return to the issue of asylum cases, obviously there is an important balance to strike between the time taken to reach a decision and the quality of that decision, and my concern is that sometimes speed is given precedence over the quality, which then stores up problems for the UKBA in the long run, because you end up in a long-running system of an appeal and a tribunal, which ultimately costs more money. Is pressure being put too much on staff to reach decisions quickly and therefore the decisions are not of sufficient quality, and how far are we being dogged by the mistakes of the past, where decisions took a long time but we shouldn't necessarily allow that to cloud what is happening now?

Mr Vine: I absolutely agree with the premise that you pose. I think there should be far more emphasis on quality rather than trying to get through a particular figure. What I have found in my inspection is that very often there doesn't seem to be any rationale for the performance targets that I find are in place. So when I ask staff if they have had any input, for example, into them, if anybody has asked them whether they think they can deliver what is being asked of them, invariably they say no. I have commented in many reports on this. For example, when I went to Islamabad and looked at visas there, I think the target on the day I was there was 60 cases per entry clearance officer. When I had a focus group with staff, they said, "Well, unless you are particularly experienced, it is unlikely you can get through 60 cases a day, and if you come across a difficult case then obviously a complex matter takes longer to consider". I think that worked out at about four minutes per case. So I agree with you. I think that sometimes somewhat arbitrary performance targets have been selected without a clear rationale for them being selected, and that does mitigate against quality of decision-making, which I think comes round in terms of extra cost incurred, not just through appeals but dealing with administrative reviews and also dealing with reapplications, because some clients won't trust the administrative review process and they will just advise applicants to reapply, pay another fee. That adds to the workload that the UK Border Agency had in the first place.

Q93 Mr Clappison: Just very briefly coming back to the point you made a few moments ago about having, I think you said, a target for the number of appeals that arose in asylum cases. I understand the point that you have been making about this, about quality decision-making, but the decision-maker can't control whether or not the person decides to make an appeal or not. Surely there must be a danger if you put that target on them of encouraging the decision-taker to grant positive outcomes in order to reduce the number of appeals.

Mr Vine: Yes, that is a very good point. What I would say is that I would like to see more effort by the Border Agency in addressing the issue. It is really not for me to come up with, I suppose, solutions for them; they can come up with their own solutions. But my recommendations have been around—what has concerned me is that sometimes the Border Agency has not shown any willingness to look at the reasons why they are losing so many, and I think that is—

Mr Clappison: Yes. A presenting officer's case, if a presenting officer doesn't turn up, I mean that probably tells the tribunal all they need to know.

Mr Vine: That is true, that is true.

Q94 Chair: We have drawn attention to the fact that I was at York House a few weeks ago and there is a whole court that consists of just applicants. There are no presentation officers there, which was bizarre.

Mr Vine: I will be able to comment more fully after Friday, Chairman.

Chair: Indeed.

Q95 Dr Huppert: Can I first pick up David Winnick's very important point about economic and family migration appeals? The figures we have been given are that appeals were successful in 54% of occasions, those figures from UKBA, and I am sure we would all agree that if you are losing most of your appeals there is something wrong. Would you agree with me that as long as there is such a high error rate being made by UKBA it shows that it is essential to have that appeal route as an exit?

Mr Vine: The point that was being made by Mr Winnick was, of course, immigration judges can decide on the same facts to come to a different conclusion from an entry clearance officer or from a case worker. So I don't think that figure of itself indicates that the Border Agency is making so many errors. They obviously have a very high appeal rate and that should concern them. There are other factors in place. My concern is that they should reduce that and provide a better quality of service to the customer. At the end of the day they have a customer strategy but I think I would be fair in saying that, in my view, based on the evidence I have looked at so far, they have some way to go to making that more of an everyday reality.

Q96 Dr Huppert: Indeed, and I think your evidence has been quite devastating. There is a lot of work for whoever takes over running UKBA to do. I think in Canada, if I am correct, the appeal rate is something like 0.5%, more like 1%, so it shows what can be done.

Just because we are running against time, can I quickly move on to the backlog of asylum cases, the legacy programme? Are you comfortable that that will clear soon? Do you think it has been a good use of public money to clear it and are we at risk of building up another backlog to clear in the near future?

Mr Vine: When I looked at this in 2009 and published my report in 2010, I was of the view that I was really concerned about a new backlog emerging under the new asylum model. At the time, I found that there were 30,000 cases in a new queue and out of service standard teams were being put together hastily to try and deal with them, and I think that is where the emphasis must lie really now. When I looked at the backlog of cases, we looked at the criteria that were being used and we found the Border Agency were applying the criteria, bearing in mind that I did put in the report that Ministers had changed the criteria to allow the grant of asylum to those who were in the country for between six and eight years as opposed to eight and 12 years. So the criteria had been changed but the Border Agency, to all intents and purposes, were applying those criteria in accordance with policy. The concern I also had was that there should be something put in place at the end of this process, which I believe is being put in place by the Border Agency, to capture the cases that have not yet been resolved.

One thing that did concern me in that report, and it is an increasing concern of mine, is that in some cases it was difficult to see what rationale the Border Agency had used to grant asylum. In some cases, if you looked at the free text that was on the file it was difficult there to see why asylum had been granted. I remember publishing in my report a particular case study where an individual had applied fraudulently for asylum under a different name. He had been refused under his original name, applied fraudulently, asylum was granted but it was not possible from the casework to discover the rationale behind why asylum had been granted. That is an increasing problem I find in looking at grants of visas and other issues. The audit trail needs to be there in order to safeguard the agency and to safeguard individuals.

Q97 Dr Huppert: Is this a product of trying to mop up the mess that was left by the legacy programme getting so big? Can I also pin you down on your concerns about the current growth in the backlog? How big do you think it is now and are we likely to see similarly poor decision-making with this new backlog?

Mr Vine: I noted from the last report that the Chief Executive had given this Committee that that backlog was not in that update. You would have to ask him what the state of that is now. I couldn't really comment on the first part of your question about whether this was a mess going back. This post wasn't created then and I don't have any information from inspection in relation to that.

Q98 Mr Clappison: Can I very briefly comment on that point you are making about the fraud that you uncovered? Can you just tell us which programme did you find that fraud in? You told us about a case where an asylum seeker had—not an asylum seeker, somebody had applied fraudulently for asylum under a false name and had been granted it.

Mr Vine: That was case study 4 in the report I published in 2009 on asylum, and what I was pointing out was I had concerns that it was difficult for an inspector to look at particular cases and discover the rationale why a decision had been made in that particular case. I think it is really important from the agency's point of view that they have systems and procedures that ensure that somebody inquiring into a case can easily see why a decision was made.

Q99 Mr Clappison: Has that improved since 2009?

Mr Vine: I would say not on the basis of my inspection of visas and other parts of the agency. It is becoming an increasing concern of mine that in, for example looking at visas that are granted, for example in my report on Oman that I published two or three weeks ago, of the 50 cases I looked at where there was a grant of visa, I felt that in 17 of those cases the decision was made not in accordance with the evidence.

Q100 Mr Clappison: You are only looking at a sample of these cases, so could it be possible that this is much more widespread than just these few cases?

Mr Vine: When I conduct, for example, a visa inspection, we look at a sample of 350 to 400 cases out of whatever the post manages. In Oman, it is around 25,000 cases a year so I wouldn't wish to speculate; I simply would like to say that is what I had in the report.

Q101 Chair: In effect, an amnesty has been granted to the people on the legacy programme, because only 9% of the people have been removed.

Mr Vine: Is that a question then, Chair?

Chair: I am asking you, is that—

Mr Vine: I know it is only 9%. I know that the figures show that only 9% have been removed from the backlog.

Chair: Exactly. There has been a huge amount of public expenditure, the policy changed, and only 9% were removed of the 400,000 cases.

Mr Vine: As I said, when I looked specifically at the issue, I found what I have already described to you.

Chair: Indeed.

Q102 Alun Michael: I think it is just a little bit difficult to get at the process and improvement issues that you are talking about, the sort of experience that many of us have of dealing with individual cases and the feeling sometimes that there are unfairnesses that are difficult for those working within the system to cope with. Standing back a little bit from the examination of specific arrangements, I wonder if you have any wider suggestions of how the whole system could be improved, given the experience you have had now of looking at a whole series of individual circumstances?

Mr Vine: That is a very good question. I have made over 160 recommendations to date, I think, and since I last appeared before this Committee I have published 21 reports. I said this last week when I published one of my reports, when I was a chief constable it was very easy for people to understand what I did. The Border Agency covers such a breadth and depth of work that is not encountered by many ordinary people that I think it is very difficult for them to convey the extent of the responsibility that they have. I also think that they have had an awful lot of change and they are still a very young organisation. So for example, the merger of the Immigration and Customs cultures is still something that they wrestle with in terms of joint working at ports and so on. So it is an organisation that has undergone tremendous change, probably too much change, I might say, at the moment. They are probably wrestling with an awful lot of change that any other organisation perhaps might not be embracing all at once.

Q103 Chair: Are you planning to do any work on diplomatic passports and the extension of the rights of the visas of diplomats coming here? Has that ever come to your attention?

Mr Vine: That is not an issue that has come to my attention, Chair, no.

Q104 Chair: I may send you details on that. Finally, if you were giving marks out of 10, John Reid famously said that the Home Office was not fit for purpose. You were then appointed to do a proper inspection.

Mr Winnick: Arising from that remark?

Chair: How would you rate the Home Office now, marks out 10?

Mr Vine: I don't think it would be very helpful if I gave a mark. I would give different marks out of 10 depending on the scrutiny that I had under way at a particular time.

Q105 Chair: But do you think that they are fit for purpose?

Mr Vine: I think it is a variable picture. I can see improvements in many aspects of the work, for example handling of professional standards, nationality and parts of the Tier 2 report were very good for them as well. So I think it is a very variable picture. I think slow improvements.

Chair: We all look forward to the appointment of the next head of the UK Border Agency. You are not applying?

Mr Vine: I have not applied, no, Chair.

Chair: Mr Vine, thank you very much for coming today to give evidence. Thank you for all your good work.

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