3 Key indicators of the Agency's performance |
48. The Committee assesses the Agency's performance
on a quarterly basis against a number of key indicators covering
the major aspects of its work. This list is not definitive and
the committee may decide, as and when new issues arise, to add
- Foreign national offenders
- The asylum and immigration backlog: live casework
- New asylum cases
- Immigration detention
- Appeals and tribunals
- Sponsors and licensing
- Enforcement action
- Migration Refusal Pool
- Departmental information and cooperation with
Foreign National Offenders and ex-Foreign National Offenders
|Ex-FNOS released without being
considered for deportation
No significant change:
- 47 of the ex-FNOs released without being considered for deportation in 2006 remained untraced at the end of Q3 2012. This was down from 50 in the previous quarter.
- Four additional ex-FNOs from the 2006 cohort were removed from the UK in Q3 2012 taking the total to 405.
- Three of the 28 ex-FNOs released without being considered for deportation in 2011 remain untraced.
- Three ex-FNOs were released without being considered for deportation in 2012.
Ex-FNOs living in the community
- No significant change: 3,980 ex-FNOs were living in the community whilst awaiting deportation in Q3 2012 a slight increase of 26 on Q2 2012. 65% of these cases are over two years old.
Removals in this quarter
- No significant change: 340 ex-FNOs eligible for deportation were released in Q3 2012, 96% of their cases were outstanding at the end of Q3 2012. This is similar to Q2 2012 when 318 ex-FNOs were released with 94% of cases outstanding at the end of the quarter.
- Worse performance: Of the ex-FNOs whose deportation cases were outstanding 211 were delayed because their cases were still being concluded by the UKBA. This is a rise of 39% from Q2 2012.
- Worse performance: 118 days was the average length of time it took to deport an ex-FNO in Q3 2012, an increase of 10 days from the previous quarter.
- Improved performance: There were 165 failed removals in Q3 2012, 13% of the total number of removals. This is an improvement from Q2 2012 when there were 200 failed removals.
- No significant change: 45% of removals were carried out during the Early Release Scheme period in Q3 2012 compared with 43% in Q2 2012.
- No significant change: 38% of removals were carried out under the Facilitated Returns Scheme in Q3 2012 compared with 39% in Q2 2012.
KEY ISSUE: TACKLING THE BACKLOG OF EX-FNOS LIVING
IN THE COMMUNITY
Graph 1: Number of ex-FNOs living in the community
whilst awaiting deportation by time
49. The Committee is pleased
to note that the Agency is making some progress in locating and
removing ex-FNOs from the 2006 cohort who were released without
being considered for deportation.
50. However, the overall number
of ex-foreign national offenders living in the community whilst
awaiting deportation has grown incrementally since the beginning
of the year and the backlog of ex-offenders who have been here
for over two years remains stubbornly high. The Government is
simply not getting to grips with an issue that both endangers
and infuriates the public. We reiterate our previous recommendation
that ex-FNOs should be considered for deportation earlier in their
sentence. The Home Office should work to overcome logistical and
legal obstacles to doing so.
Asylum and immigration backlog:
- 28,500 backlog asylum applications were being caseworked by the Agency in Q3 2012.
- At the end of Q3 2012 56% of all legacy asylum applications concluded to date had been granted leave to remain and 24% of applicants were removed. 21% of applications were found to be duplicates.
- 4,000 backlog migration cases were being caseworked by the Agency in Q3 2012.
- At the end of Q3 2012 48% of all legacy migration cases concluded to date had been granted leave to remain and 29% of applicants had been removed. 24% of cases were found to be duplicates.
KEY ISSUE: PRIORITISING THE CONCLUSION OF LEGACY
Graph 2: Asylum and immigration backlog casework
51. The asylum and migration backlog is made
up of "live" cases, where the Agency has established
contact with people who were previously untraceable. The number
of live asylum and immigration backlog cases has grown steadily
throughout the year, this is to be expected as the Agency began
to properly implement its tracing programme in this period. When
the controlled archives closed the Agency had 33,900 backlog asylum
cases and 7,000 backlog immigration cases that it needs to conclude.
Most of the individuals concerned will have waited many years
to find out the result of their applications. The Agency must
now prioritise the conclusion of their cases and work fast to
give them a swift decision. The age of the cases and the controversy
surrounding the backlog make it important that the Agency considers
the merits of each application properly and records the reasons
behind its decision making. As we recommended in our Fourth Report
of 2010-12, in cases where severe delays in decision-making have
been the fault of the Government and not the applicant, and where
the passage of time has made evidence harder to find or has led
to the applicant's being better integrated into British society,
there is an argument in favour of granting the applicant leave
New asylum cases
Initial decisions and conclusions
- Worse performance: 10,914 asylum cases were awaiting an initial decision at the end of Q3 2012 a 19% increase on the previous quarter.
- Worse performance: There was a 53% rise in the number of asylum seekers awaiting an initial decision for more than 6 months in the year up to September 2012.
- No significant change 63% of asylum cases were concluded within one year in Q3 2012 a 3% rise on the previous year.
Applicants previously removed from the UK
- 4 individuals were removed from the UK and subsequently granted refugee status or humanitarian protection in Q3 2012. The individuals were nationals of Iran, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
- Unacceptable performance: 1,754 settlement applications were made by asylum seekers in Q3 2012, 91% were outstanding at the end of the quarter.
- Unacceptable performance: 109 days was the average length of time taken to process a settlement application in Q3 2012.
Key issue: a growing backlog of cases pending an initial
decision for more than 6 months
Graph 3: Main and dependent applicants
waiting more than 6 months for an initial decision
52. We are concerned to see
a 53% rise in the number of asylum seekers awaiting an initial
decision for more than six months in the year up to September
2012. The number of cases being concluded within a year has only
risen by 3% in the same period, now accounting for only 63% of
the total. We recognise that there will be difficulties with some
cases but if our asylum system is to function properly the Agency
must keep on top of its caseload. The figures for the last year
indicate that this is not what is happening, the Agency should
review its resource model for processing these cases and make
the changes needed to start reversing the increase in the number
of cases waiting for an initial decision for longer than six months.
Number of visas issued
- There was a 14% decline in the number of visas issued in the year up to September 2012.
- There has been a 28% decrease in the number of settlement visas issued in the year up to September 2012.
- There has been a 26% decline in the number of student visas issued in the year up to September 2012.
Processing of in-country immigration cases
The Agency's targets are to process 90% of Tier 1, 2 and 5 and 85% of in-country postal applications within four weeks.
- New backlog: Only 18% of Tier 1 and 14% of Tier 4 applications were processed on time in Q3 2012 a decline from 26% and 28% respectively in the previous quarter.
- Improved performance: 79% of Tier 2 and 71% of Tier 5 applications were processed on time in Q3 2012, an increase from 33% and 34% respectively in the previous quarter.
- New backlog: 59,000 in-country immigration applications had not been loaded onto the Agency's Case Information Database (CID) at the end of Q3 2012.
Processing of out of country immigration cases
- Improved performance: The Agency consistently exceeded its processing targets for out-of-country visa applications in Tiers 2, 4 and 5 in Q3 2012. 100% of visas in all three tiers were processed within its final 60 day target time.
- No significant change: The Agency missed its processing targets for out of country visa applications in Tier 1 by a few percentage points. 99% of visas were processed within its final 60 day target time.
KEY ISSUE: BACKLOG OF IN-COUNTRY IMMIGRATION APPLICATIONS
Graph 4: % of in-country visa applications processed
within target time in Q3 2012
53. The Agency's performance
in processing applications for Further Leave to Remain in Q3 2012
is shocking. Its targets for Tiers 1, 2 and 5 are to process 90%
of postal applications in four weeks and 90% of premium applications
in 24 hours. Its targets for Tier 4 are to process 85% of postal
applications in four weeks and 85% of premium applications within
54. In Quarter 3 2012 only 18%
of Tier 1 applications made by post were processed within target
time (four weeks), within Tier 1, only 20% of Entrepreneur applications
were processed on time. Tier 4 fared even worse with only 14%
of student postal applications being processed within four weeks.
Tier 2 and Tier 5 saw a better performance but still fell considerably
short of the 90% target.
55. The Agency's premium service
is designed to enable users to have their applications for Further
Leave to Remain processed within 24 hours. In Q3 2012 the Agency
processed only 73% of Tier 1 and 72% of Tier 2 FLTR applications
within the 24 hour target time. It processed 73% and 75% of Tier
4 and 5 visas on time. This is an unacceptable performance considering
that the Agency is charging main applicants between £661
and £1,800 for premium applications.
In Tier 2, where a premium application costs £306 more than
the postal route, the Agency processed more postal applications
on time than premium applications, this is unacceptable.
56. The Agency has given applicants
a notably poor level of customer service which cannot be serving
the Government's aim of keeping the 'brightest and the best' in
the UK. Parliamentary Questions reveal that it takes 45 minutes
to deal with a case. Given that figure, it is inexcusable that
so many people are not having their cases processed on time. In
total 28,558 visa applications were not processed within target
times in Q3 2012, more than double the number that were, 10, 842.
The delays create a
vicious cycle of paperwork as, the longer the delay, the more
letters MPs will write and the more bureaucracy there will be
to handle. People are paying a high cost to obtain their visas,
and more for the premium services. The Agency needs to consider
these people more as customers, and fulfil its responsibilities
in the timescale it has promised.
The Agency must explain to Parliament what has gone wrong throughout
2012, what it is doing to solve the problem and when services
will be running within target times again. We note that, in contrast,
out of country visa applications are processed within target times
and that the Agency often exceeds these targets, as we saw recently
in Abu Dhabi. The Agency needs to examine how the strong performance
of the International Directorate can be replicated for in-country
IN-COUNTRY APPLICATIONS NOT YET
LOADED ONTO THE AGENCY'S COMPUTER SYSTEMS
57. We report quarterly on UKBA's
performance and with each Quarter a new backlog is revealed. The
appearance of the backlog of cases still to be loaded onto the
UKBA's computerswhich numbers some 59,000 peopleis
As Members of Parliament, we receive countless calls from constituents
who are distressed by the Agency's unresponsiveness. It was Rt
Hon John Spellar MP who wrote to us to alert us to this backlog,
which was not previously disclosed by the Agency. A further backlog
was revealed by John Vine's work on visas.
58. It is completely unacceptable
for Members of Parliament to ring up about constituency cases
and be told that the Agency has no record of them, because they
have not been entered onto its databases yet. This should be a
priority for the Agency so Members can at least access case information.
59. Information on this backlog
was only volunteered by the Chief Executive when questioned by
the Committee. The Agency needs to be transparent and keep the
Committee informed of any new backlogs that emerge, and of any
current backlogs that exist that the Committee is not aware of.
|Rule 35 reports
- Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules states that medical practitioners are required to report to the Agency any detainee whose health is likely to be injuriously affected by detention or any condition of detention and any detainee they are concerned may be a victim of torture.
- 231 reports were made under Rule 35 to the Agency in Q3 2012, 13 reports (6%) resulted in the individual in question being released. This is a similar number to the previous quarter when 5% of reports resulted in the individual being released.
- Improved performance: 48 children entered immigration detention in Q3 2012 a decline from 60 the previous quarter.
- Improved performance: 54 children left immigration detention in Q3 2012. 87% of these had been held for 3 days or less an improvement from 77% on the previous quarter.
KEY ISSUE: ACTING ON RULE 35 REPORTS
our previous "focus" report, we recommended that the
Agency inform us how many individuals the Rule 35 reports it receives
each quarter relate to and why medical advice was overruled on
so many occasions. We also recommended that it should immediately
carry out an independent review of the application of Rule 35
across the immigration detention estate. When Rob Whiteman gave
evidence to us this quarter he told us that the Agency took Rule
35 reports very seriously.
He told us that the reason such a small number of reports
resulted in an individual's release was that detainees could refer
themselves to the Agency under Rule 35 and that their legal team
could too. This
both the Detention Centre Rules and the Agency's own guidance
which states quite clearly:
'Rule 35 reports should be prepared and submitted
by medical practitioners only'. 
61. The same guidance defines
a medical practitioner as:
A person who is vocationally trained as a general
practitioner and fully registered within the meaning of the Medical
When pressed by this Committee in
follow up correspondence Mr Whiteman conceded that only medical
practitioners are able to make Rule 35 reports.
62. The Agency cannot plausibly
claim to take Rule 35 reports very seriously when its Chief Executive
does not understand his own guidance. Furthermore Mr Whiteman's
answer gave the misleading impression that a proportion of reports
may not have a sound medical basis as they were not necessarily
made by medical practitioners. We are concerned at the enormous
gap between the number of reports received and the number of individuals
released. The Agency must tell Parliament the reasons for which
its caseworkers overrule the advice of medical practitioners.
We reiterate our previous recommendation that the Agency should
carry out an immediate independent review of the application of
Rule 35 in immigration detention. Further intransigence will continue
to pose a risk to individuals, as mental health issues may not
be properly identified.
Appeals and tribunals51
|Appeals Improvement Plan: progress against targets
Border Agency to represent at 90% of appeals
- Improved performance: An Agency representative was present at 95% of all appeal hearings by the end of Q3 2012 an increase of 19% on the previous quarter.
90% of bundles to be received by the court by the prescribed date
- Unacceptable performance: 66% of cases bundles were delivered to the court on time by the Agency in Q2 2012.
UK Border Agency to increase the number of appeals it wins
No significant change:
- The Agency won 64% of asylum appeals in Q2 2012 and lost 30%, as it had done the previous quarter.
- The Agency won 46% of managed migration cases in Q2 2012 and lost 43% as it had done the previous quarter.
- The Agency won 38% of entry clearance cases in Q2 2012 and lost 36%, as it had done the previous quarter.
- The Agency won 52% of family visit visa cases in Q2 2012 and lost 30%. This was a 5% increase in win rate from the previous quarter.
- The Agency won 60% of deportation cases in Q2 2012 and lost 30%. This was a 5% decrease in win rate from the previous quarter.
Reduce appeal volumes
- No significant change: 25,500 appeals were lodged against the Agency's decision in Q2 2012 the same volume as were lodged in the previous quarter.
KEY ISSUE: CLOSING
THE FAMILY VISIT VISA FULL RIGHT OF APPEAL
63. We are concerned that the
full right of appeal for the Family Visit Visa is being closed
off at a time when the Agency is winning only just over half the
appeals made against its decisions. We reiterate below the recommendations
we made in our previous two reports which should help to reduce
the volume of appeals without closing off important routes of
appeal. Removing this will create extra pressure on the entry
clearance operation with no guarantee it will save time or money.
64. There are a number of simple
changes the Agency could make to reduce the volume of appeals
it handles. Firstly the refusal notices it issues should set out
in clear bullet points why the application has been rejected.
If, for example, it is due to missing documentation the applicant
should be asked to provide this to the Agency as part of the same
application. It should then be reviewed within an acceptable timescale.
This could reduce both the time it would take for the applicant
to get a decision and the resources spent on appeals. Secondly,
we understand that the Agency does not specify all the documentation
it requires to grant an application. For example it asks for "proof
of funds" instead of bank statements. We recommend that the
Agency list specific documents that are likely to be needed in
order to grant an application. This will ensure that the application
process is as clear as possible and should reduce the amount of
verification work and appeals work that has to be done at a later
stage. We will return to the issue of the entry clearance operation
as the focus of our next report.
Sponsors and licensing
|New sponsor applications
- 834 new sponsorship applications were made in Q3 2012, 722 for Tier 2, 35 for Tier 4 and 77 for Tier 5.
- 89% of applicants who applied for sponsor status in Q3 2012 had a decision made on their application by 17 December 2012.
- 41 days was the average length of time it took to process a sponsor application in Q3 2012. This was a decrease from 82 days in the previous quarter.
Pre registration visits
- 8% of successful Tier 2 sponsors applicants whose applications were received in Q3 2012 had a pre-registration visit.
- 47% of successful Tier 4 sponsor applicants whose applications were received in Q3 2012 had a pre-registration visit.
- 5% of successful Tier 5 sponsor applicants whose applications were received in Q3 2012 had a pre-registration visit.
Follow up visits
- 31% of follow up visits to Tier 2 sponsors were unannounced in Q3 2012 a decrease from 42% in the previous quarter.
- 30% of follow up visits to Tier 4 sponsors were unannounced in Q3 2012 a decrease from 36% in the previous quarter.
- 11% of follow up visits to Tier 5 sponsors were unannounced in Q3 2012 a decrease from 33% in the previous quarter.
KEY ISSUE: POST LICENCE VISITS
65. We are concerned that the
proportion of post licence visits that are unannounced is declining
in all sponsor Tiers. We reiterate the recommendation made in
our previous reports that the majority of post licence visits
should be unannounced. This should ensure that the enforcement
system is both rigorous and gives the public confidence that the
government is cracking down on illegal immigration. In its Fifth
Report of the Session the Agency committed to test the approach
of undertaking 100% unannounced visits on sponsors where it suspects
non-compliance by March 2013. We will expect to see the results
of this test when we next take evidence from the Agency.
|Non compliance notifications
- 22,780 sponsor notifications regarding the non-compliance of overseas students were made to the Agency by Tier 4 sponsors in Q3 2012.
- 5,967 sponsor notifications regarding the non-compliance of employees and temporary workers were made to the Agency by Tier 2 and Tier 5 sponsors in Q3 2012.
- The Agency told this Committee that it does not know how many of the non-compliance notifications received in Q3 2012 were followed up within the quarter.
Suspension and revocation of sponsor licences
- 96 Tier 2 sponsors had their licenses revoked in Q3 2012 and 271 had their licenses suspended.
- 47 Tier 4 sponsors had their licenses revoked in Q3 2012 and 62 had their licenses suspended.
- 4 Tier 4 sponsors had their licenses revoked in Q3 2012 and 15 had their licenses suspended.
KEY ISSUE: TRACKING THE FOLLOW UP OF NON-COMPLIANCE
66. It is unacceptable that
the Agency does not know how many of the potential non-compliance
notifications received in Q3 2012 had been followed up by the
end of the Quarter. If the Agency does not keep track of its performance
in this area then it will undermine the work of Sponsors who are
required to make non-compliance reports if they suspect a sponsee
of breaking the terms of their visa. We reiterate our comments
from our previous report:
We recommend that the Agency immediately
instigates a way of tracking follow up actions taken on potential
non-compliance reports. Without this we cannot see how it can
keep track of the number of people who may be breaking the terms
of their visa and therefore remaining in the country illegally.
Migration Refusal Pool
KEY ISSUE: TACKLING THE CONTINUED GROWTH OF THE MIGRATION REFUSAL POOL
67. The Migration Refusal Pool
has increased by 4% since Q2 2012. The Committee welcomes the
fact that the Agency has now contracted Capita to concentrate
on clearing this backlog and has established performance benchmarks
against which to measure the result. The Committee has taken evidence
from Capita at the start of this contract and will be closely
monitoring its performance throughout. We expect the Government
to publish its own assessment of Capita's performance in delivering
this contract twice a year.
68. Capita informed the Committee
that it was dealing with the existing backlog but was not dealing
with more recent refusals. The way to prevent the backlog from
growing is to check applicants as soon as they are refused, rather
than wait months to do so. The Agency must have sufficient resources
in place to carry out timely checks that individuals refused Leave
to Remain have left the country. Otherwise the backlog will build
69. We note that there are 86
members of Capita staff on UKBA premises with access to the database.
We are concerned that Capita was unable to answer our question
about whether it had the permission of applicants to deal with
Q30 Chair: Just two questions that come out of that
before I call other colleagues; when applicants sign their application
to the UKBA they agree that their information can be passed to
other Government departments when they make an application?
Alistair MacTaggart: I believe that is the case,
Q31 Chair: There is no agreement that it should be
passed to a private-sector company. Were you aware of that?
Alistair MacTaggart: I was not aware of that.
Chair: The problem being that you are looking at
information that the applicant has not consented to you seeing.
Paul Pindar: We are not aware of that, if that is
Chair: No. Obviously I think you should have a look
at it to make sure you don't get into difficulties with the Information
Commissioner, since you are not the data owner.
Alistair MacTaggart: I believe the Information Commissioner
will be looking at that with UKBA.
Although we welcome the fact that
the Migration Refusal Pool backlog is now to be tackled in a focused
way it appears that Capita's contract amounts to telephoning or
sending text messages to individuals asking them to leave and
cleansing the Agency's data in the process. This is a contract
worth between £2.5 and £3m.
do not understand why the Agency was not able to do this in a
strategic and timely way itself.
|Allegations received in Q3 2012
- 28,243 allegations about possible illegal immigration or other immigration violations were received in Q3 2012.
- 99% of these were given an initial assessment in 48 hours.
- 15,269 allegations (54%)were investigated further by the UKBA.
- 797 allegations (2.8% of the total) resulted in enforcement being taken, including 561 arrests.
- The Agency is not yet able to track how many enforcement actions resulted in an individual being deported.
Progress on the National Allegations Database
- The National Allegations Database went live on 30 September. UKBA informed us that this will enable the Agency to track individual allegations through to outcome.
KEY ISSUE: AN IMPROVED INTELLIGENCE PICTURE ABOUT THE RESULTS
OF ALLEGATIONS MADE
70. In successive reports we
have called for the Agency to inform people who make allegations
as to their outcome. We are particularly concerned that a spouse
reporting marital fraud, for example, is still being treated as
a third party reporting the case. It is important that where a
family member is making a report, particularly if they have sponsored
the individual in question, they are kept up to date with progress.
We will be monitoring closely the performance of the National
Allegations Database. As a result of being able to track allegations
through the system we expect to see a proper analysis from the
Agency as to why such a small proportion of allegations made result
in enforcement action being taken.
Departmental information and
cooperation with Parliament
- 13,165 FTE equivalent staff were working for the Agency in Q3 2012.
- The Agency spent £27,000 on external consultants in Q3 2012
Cooperation with Parliament
No significant change:
- The Agency responded to 83% of MPs' emails within 20 working days in Q3 2012. This fell 12% short of their target and was a slight decrease from the previous quarter.
- The Agency resolved 78% of queries made via their MP's Inquiry Line within 10 working days. This fell 12% short of their target, the same as in the previous quarter.
- The Agency's response to this Committee's data request for Q3 2012 arrived 6 days late.
71. We are concerned by the
Agency's failure to meet targets for responding to MPs, as people
only turn to their Member of Parliament as a last resort. For
this reason, they need to be dealt with in a timely and proper
manner. We note that even if the Agency meets these targets it
does not mean that cases are resolved. Part of the problem in
responding to MPs is the delay in uploading information to the
Case Information Database and this must be dealt with as a first
72. It is only because of our
questioning of the Minister that we heard about the Migration
Refusal Pool and even now we are hearing about further backlogs.
This is unacceptable. UKBA must disclose all relevant information
to Parliament and not wait until it is asked.
42 Settlement applications are made by individuals
whose period of leave on the grounds of humanitarian protection
or being granted asylum has expired and who have applied for a
residence permit to remain in the UK. Back
Settlement visas are applications for permanent leave to reside
in the UK. Back
Prices are dependent on Tier, please see the Agency's website
for a full breakdown of fees: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/aboutus/contact/applyinginperson/cost/ Back
Q105 (footnote), Ev 17 Back
UK Border Agency, Detention services order 17/2012, p3 Back
UK Border Agency, Detention services order 17/2012, p2 Back
Ev 38, para 9 Back
Figures relate to First Tier Tribunal cases. Back
Appeal outcomes are published as national statistics, the latest
available statistics are for Q2 2012 the previous quarter to the
one covered by the report. Management statistics relating to the
Agency's Appeals Improvement Programme are available for Q3 2012. Back
Not all applications for sponsor status in Tier 4 are for new
licences, the figure also includes reinstatements. Back
The Agency points out that sponsors self select from a number
of categories when they make notifications so a proportion of
non-compliance notifications will be miscategorised. It has not
told us how many non-compliance notifications were miscategorised. Back
Home Affairs Committee, Session 2012-13, Capita's work
for the UK Border Agency, HC 914-i, Qq 30-31 Back