Damning verdict of UK’s immigration system

A former immigration chief has warned the UK is still failing to get “the basics right” when it comes to controlling its borders.

John Vine told BBC Radio 4 that the existing framework of regulations needed to be enforced more robustly.

He also cast doubt on attempts by ministers to reduce net migration when many of the factors which affect the figures are outside the Government’s control.

“There is still much more room for improvement in getting the basics right; ensuring that staff know their powers under the law,” Mr Vine told the PM programme.

“There is also tremendous room for improvement in terms of enforcing rules and regulations that exist in order to make sure that there’s much more toughness in some areas of immigration.”

Mr Vine, who was speaking for the first time since leaving his role as Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, also called for the public to be kept better informed.

“I think sometimes the debate on immigration seems to have not progressed from two guys sharing a pint at the bar of a local pub.

“There needs to be far more information put into the public domain to inform the debate.”

A Home Office spokesman said Mr Vine’s work had been “invaluable” and insisted officials were working hard to control immigration.

“This government is restoring order, clamping down on abuse, and building an immigration system which works in the national interest.

“Our reforms have cut net migration from outside the EU by nearly a quarter since 2010 – close to levels not seen since the late 1990s.”

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