The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Local Immigration Team was the first to be established in the UK in 2008. This inspection was broad ranging but particularly focussed on how effective the LIT was in managing asylum casework and identifying and removing immigration offenders from the UK.
The Chief Inspector was pleased to find that:
- the LIT was exceeding its target for removals, in particular those likely to cause harm;
- asylum decisions were generally made within the 30 day target, well above the national average; and
- the Arrest Team operations were conducted professionally and all those encountered were treated with dignity and respect.
However, the Chief Inspector was concerned to find that:
- there is a pool of over 150,000 cases nationally where a decision had been made by the Agency to refuse an extension of stay, but where it was not known whether these individuals had left the UK, nor was there a strategic plan to manage these cases;
- the location and removal of absconders was considered low priority for the Agency; and
- the effectiveness of the intelligence used to support arrest visits was not measured to ensure an efficient use of resources.
John Vine, Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration said
“This was my first inspection of a Local Immigration Team office, and I chose Hampshire & Isle of Wight as it was the first such office to be created.
“I was impressed with the management of the office including how the work was managed so that the LIT exceeded its removal targets. Asylum decisions were made promptly in the majority of cases, and there was a good relationship with local MPs and social services. Arrest team visits were well-organised and people were seen to be treated with dignity and respect.
“However, we did find that there are over 150,000 cases nationally of migrants who have been refused an extension of stay in the UK. The Agency does not know how many of these individuals have left the country or who are waiting to be removed. I also saw no evidence that there is a clear plan in place for the Agency to deal with this stream of work to ensure this does not become another backlog.
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