The chair of an influential parliamentary committee has claimed that the UK’s immigration system is “in intensive care”.
Labour MP Keith Vaz criticised the Government over the use of a single immigration target and the numbers of migrants who have fallen off the authorities’ radar.
The Home Affairs Select Committee has also cast doubt over claims that a new system of exit checks will be introduced by April next year.
“Successive governments have spent millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on the botched e-borders programme. Everyone who enters and leaves Britain must be counted in and out,” said Mr Vaz.
A much-mentioned pledge by Government to bring net migration below 100,000 – which ministers have since admitted will now be almost impossible to achieve- also came under fire.
“No government of whatever political formation can control the number of people who voluntarily wish to leave the country,” said the committee’s new report.
“This raises questions about future immigration policy. An arbitrary target set by ministers, however well-intentioned, only serves to reduce public confidence in the ability of any government to deliver a future pledge on immigration.”
In the wake of the report, Immigration Minister James Brokenshire defended the Government’s record on reforming border controls and insisted the planned exit checks would make a difference.
“Comprehensive exit checks are a crucial part of our work to build an immigration system that works in the national interest. These checks, which will be in place by April 2015, will increase security and target migration abuse,” he said.
“We will consider the findings of this report carefully and respond formally in due course.”