UK Border Agency
Overview
 
The UK Border Agency is the border control
Border control
Border controls are measures used by a country to monitor or regulate its borders.The control of the flow of many people, animals and goods across a border may be controlled by government Customs services. Security is enforced by various kinds of Border Guards and Coast Guards...

 body of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 (UK) government and part of the Home Office
Home Office
The Home Office is the United Kingdom government department responsible for immigration control, security, and order. As such it is responsible for the police, UK Border Agency, and the Security Service . It is also in charge of government policy on security-related issues such as drugs,...

. It was formed on 1 April 2008 by a merger of the Border and Immigration Agency
Border and Immigration Agency
The Border and Immigration Agency was an executive agency of the British Home Office, created on 1 April 2007. The Agency assumed the responsibilities of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate for managing immigration control in the UK...

 (BIA), UKvisas
UKvisas
UKVisas was the executive arm of the British Government responsible for processing applications for entry clearance to the United Kingdom. It was an executive agency jointly run by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Border and Immigration Agency. On 1 April 2008, UKVisas was absorbed into...

 and the Detection functions of HM Revenue and Customs
Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs
Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs is a non-ministerial department of the UK Government responsible for the collection of taxes and the payment of some forms of state support....

. The decision to create a single border control organisation was taken following a Cabinet Office
Cabinet Office
The Cabinet Office is a department of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for supporting the Prime Minister and Cabinet of the United Kingdom....

 report.
The agency is divided into three broad command structures, each under the management of a senior director:
  • external controls including visa
    Visa (document)
    A visa is a document showing that a person is authorized to enter the territory for which it was issued, subject to permission of an immigration official at the time of actual entry. The authorization may be a document, but more commonly it is a stamp endorsed in the applicant's passport...

     issue in overseas posts
  • border
    Border
    Borders define geographic boundaries of political entities or legal jurisdictions, such as governments, sovereign states, federated states and other subnational entities. Some borders—such as a state's internal administrative borders, or inter-state borders within the Schengen Area—are open and...

    s, including passport
    Passport
    A passport is a document, issued by a national government, which certifies, for the purpose of international travel, the identity and nationality of its holder. The elements of identity are name, date of birth, sex, and place of birth....

     and customs
    Customs
    Customs is an authority or agency in a country responsible for collecting and safeguarding customs duties and for controlling the flow of goods including animals, transports, personal effects and hazardous items in and out of a country...

     controls
  • internal immigration
    Immigration
    Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence...

     controls including asylum, management of applications for further stay and enforcement.


Its head office is 2 Marsham Street, London.
Encyclopedia
The UK Border Agency is the border control
Border control
Border controls are measures used by a country to monitor or regulate its borders.The control of the flow of many people, animals and goods across a border may be controlled by government Customs services. Security is enforced by various kinds of Border Guards and Coast Guards...

 body of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 (UK) government and part of the Home Office
Home Office
The Home Office is the United Kingdom government department responsible for immigration control, security, and order. As such it is responsible for the police, UK Border Agency, and the Security Service . It is also in charge of government policy on security-related issues such as drugs,...

. It was formed on 1 April 2008 by a merger of the Border and Immigration Agency
Border and Immigration Agency
The Border and Immigration Agency was an executive agency of the British Home Office, created on 1 April 2007. The Agency assumed the responsibilities of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate for managing immigration control in the UK...

 (BIA), UKvisas
UKvisas
UKVisas was the executive arm of the British Government responsible for processing applications for entry clearance to the United Kingdom. It was an executive agency jointly run by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Border and Immigration Agency. On 1 April 2008, UKVisas was absorbed into...

 and the Detection functions of HM Revenue and Customs
Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs
Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs is a non-ministerial department of the UK Government responsible for the collection of taxes and the payment of some forms of state support....

. The decision to create a single border control organisation was taken following a Cabinet Office
Cabinet Office
The Cabinet Office is a department of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for supporting the Prime Minister and Cabinet of the United Kingdom....

 report.
The agency is divided into three broad command structures, each under the management of a senior director:
  • external controls including visa
    Visa (document)
    A visa is a document showing that a person is authorized to enter the territory for which it was issued, subject to permission of an immigration official at the time of actual entry. The authorization may be a document, but more commonly it is a stamp endorsed in the applicant's passport...

     issue in overseas posts
  • border
    Border
    Borders define geographic boundaries of political entities or legal jurisdictions, such as governments, sovereign states, federated states and other subnational entities. Some borders—such as a state's internal administrative borders, or inter-state borders within the Schengen Area—are open and...

    s, including passport
    Passport
    A passport is a document, issued by a national government, which certifies, for the purpose of international travel, the identity and nationality of its holder. The elements of identity are name, date of birth, sex, and place of birth....

     and customs
    Customs
    Customs is an authority or agency in a country responsible for collecting and safeguarding customs duties and for controlling the flow of goods including animals, transports, personal effects and hazardous items in and out of a country...

     controls
  • internal immigration
    Immigration
    Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence...

     controls including asylum, management of applications for further stay and enforcement.


Its head office is 2 Marsham Street, London. In 2011, the Chief Executive is Rob Whiteman
Rob Whiteman
Rob Whiteman is a senior UK Civil Servant who works as the Chief Executive of the UK Border Agency. He was appointed to this role in 2011.Whiteman had previously worked as the managing director of Local Government Improvement & Development . A job he had been appointed to in 2010...

.

The agency has come under formal criticism from the Parliamentary Ombudsman
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman comprises the offices of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration and the Health Service Commissioner for England...

 for consistently poor service, a backlog of hundreds of thousands of cases, and a large and increasing number of complaints. In the first nine months of 2009-10, 97% of investigations reported by the Ombudsman resulted in a complaint against the agency being upheld. The complainants were asylum, residence, or other immigration applicants.

Role

The UK Border Agency has a staff of 23,000 people located in over 130 countries. The agency plans to reduce this by around 5,200 between 2011 and 2015. Overseas staff vet visa applications and operate an intelligence and liaison network, acting as the first layer of border control for the UK.

The organisation operates as the single force at the border for the UK. In August 2009 HM Revenue and Customs transferred several thousand customs detection officers to the agency, following Parliament agreeing to give it customs control powers. The agency now investigates smuggling. The agency is developing a single primary border control line at the UK border combining controls of people and goods entering the country.

The agencies e-Borders programme checks travellers to and from the UK. They are checked in advance of travel using data provided by passengers via their airline or ferry operators. The organisation uses automatic clearance gates at main international airports.

The agency is managing the UK Government's limit on non-European economic migration to the UK. It is responsible for in-country enforcement operations, investigating organised immigration crime and to detecting immigration offenders including illegal entrants and overstayers. The body is also responsible for the deportation of foreign national criminals at the end of sentences.

UK Border Agency has a £2.5 billion pound annual budget and is under pressure to cut costs and resources. Under the spending review the agency will cut costs by up to 20%. At its peak the agency employed around 25,000 staff, but 5200 posts are being cut by 2015.

Founding Chief Executive Lin Homer left the agency in January 2011 to become the Permanent Secretary at the Department of Transport
Department of Transport
Department of Transport may refer to:* The Irish government department, see Department of Transport * The UK government department formerly known as the Department of Transport, see Department for Transport...

. Deputy Chief Executive Jonathan Sedgwick was acting chief until the new CEO, Rob Whiteman, took over on 26 September 2011. Jonathan Sedwick has now taken command of the International Group within the agency.

The former strategic immigration policy functions of the agency moved to the Home Office
Home Office
The Home Office is the United Kingdom government department responsible for immigration control, security, and order. As such it is responsible for the police, UK Border Agency, and the Security Service . It is also in charge of government policy on security-related issues such as drugs,...

 in July 2011.

Structure

The agency is divided into several commands:
  • International group – managing all work outside the UK including visa issuing overseas and pre-flight checks but excluding juxtaposed controls.
  • Border Force – managing ports of entry, the border targeting centre, air/maritime operations and juxtaposed controls in France and Belgium.
  • Immigration group – managing all "in-country" operational areas such as casework functions and enforcement.
  • Criminality & detention - undertakes criminal investigations, managing criminal cases , manages detention and removal centres and removes foreign national prisoners.


Both the Immigration group and Border Force operate regional command structures. Within the regions there are Local Immigration Teams (LITs).

The Government is planning to introduce a border policing command as part of a new National Crime Agency. UK Border Agency tasking will be informed by the intelligence and threat asessments produced by the command. It is likely that the new command will also be able to call on agency assets for operations against cross-border organised crime gangs.

Oversight

It is monitored by the The Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency John Vine.

Powers

At the moment, staff hold a mixture of powers granted to them by their status as immigration officers and customs officers.

Immigration powers

Immigration officers have the power of arrest and detention conferred on them by the Immigration Act 1971
Immigration Act 1971
The Immigration Act 1971 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom concerning immigration.The Act, as with the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962, and that of 1968, restricted immigration, especially primary immigration into the UK....

, when both at ports and inland. In practice, border force officers exercise powers under Schedule 2 of the Immigration Act 1971 and inland immigration officers under S28A-H of the Immigration Act 1971 and paragraph 17 of Schedule 2. This has led to separate training for border and inland officers.

This act is applicable in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. "Designated Immigration Officers" are port immigration officers who have been trained in detention under PACE. UK Border Agency immigration officers wear a uniform with rank insignia. Enforcement immigration officers wear body armour
Stab vest
A stab vest, or stab proof vest is a reinforced piece of body armor, worn under or over other items of clothing, which is designed to resist knife attacks to the chest, back and sides...

 and carry handcuffs
Handcuffs
Handcuffs are restraint devices designed to secure an individual's wrists close together. They comprise two parts, linked together by a chain, a hinge, or rigid bar. Each half has a rotating arm which engages with a ratchet that prevents it from being opened once closed around a person's wrist...

 and ASP batons.

Customs powers

Customs officers have wide-ranging powers of entry, search and detention. The main power is to detain anyone who has committed, or who the officer has reasonable grounds to suspect has committed, any offence under the Customs and Excise Acts.

Future powers

The agency attained full agency status on 1 April 2009. Immigration Officers and Customs Officers retained their own powers for the enforcement and administration of the UK's borders, although management of the new organisation is integrated and progressively officers are cross trained and empowered to deal with customs and immigration matters at the border.The Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009
Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009
The Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.Prior to the Act, residents who had spent five years living in the United Kingdom were able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain...

 received Royal Assent
Royal Assent
The granting of royal assent refers to the method by which any constitutional monarch formally approves and promulgates an act of his or her nation's parliament, thus making it a law...

 on 21 July 2009. This allows the concurrent exercise of customs powers by HMRC Commissioners and the Director of Border Revenue; it is the first step in overhauling immigration and customs legislation.

Performance

The UK Border Agency removes foreign national criminals at the end of their prison terms Over 5000 foreign national prisoners are deported each year. The agency also removes failed asylum seekers and others illegally in the UK. A 2009 report by the National Audit Office
National Audit Office
National Audit Office can refer to:* Australian National Audit Office* National Audit Office * National Audit Office of the People's Republic of China* Swedish National Audit Office...

 cited lack of detention space to support the asylum process. The agency has over 3000 detention spaces in removal centres run by private contractors or the Prison Service.

There have also been difficulties with the management of student visas under Tier 4 of the Points-Based System. The assessment of the Independent Chief Inspector was summarized by one news report as "Good at making cash, crap at making decisions".

In November 2011, the Home Affairs Select Committee
Home Affairs Select Committee
The Home Affairs Select Committee is a Committee of the House of Commons in the Parliament of the United Kingdom.-Remit:The Home Affairs Committee is one of the House of Commons Select Committees related to government departments: its terms of reference are to examine "the expenditure,...

 issued a report that found that 124,000 deportation cases had been shelved by the UKBA. The report said the cases had been dumped in a "controlled archive", a term used to try to hide the fact from authorities and auditors that it was a list of lost applicants.

Immigration control

Common travel area
Immigration control within the United Kingdom is managed within a wider Common Travel Area
Common Travel Area
The Common Travel Area is a passport-free zone that comprises the islands of Ireland, Great Britain, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The area's internal borders are subject to minimal or non-existent border controls and can normally be crossed by Irish and British citizens with only...

 (CTA). The CTA is an intergovernmental agreement that allows freedom of movement within an area that encompasses the UK, Isle of Man, Channel Islands (Guernsey, Jersey, Sark and Alderney) and the Republic of Ireland. Authorised entry to any of the above essentially allows entry to all the others but it is the responsibility of the person entering to ensure that they are properly documented for entry to other parts of the CTA. Despite the CTA it is still possible to be deported from the UK to the Republic of Ireland and vice versa.


Juxtaposed controls
Entry to the UK via the Channel Tunnel from France or Belgium or by ferry through selected ports in north-east France is controlled by juxtaposed immigration controls in Britain, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, and Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, i.e. travellers clear UK passport control in France or Belgium and those travelling to France or Belgium clear French controls while in the UK. Belgium does not maintain controls in the UK.

UK Border Agency Checkpoints in France

  • Gare de Calais-Fréthun
    Gare de Calais-Fréthun
    Calais-Fréthun is a mainline and international railway station in the suburbs of Calais, France, one of three stations serving the town. the other two are Calais-Ville in the town centre and Gare des Fontinettes in the suburbs....

  • Gare de Lille Europe
  • Channel Tunnel
    Channel Tunnel
    The Channel Tunnel is a undersea rail tunnel linking Folkestone, Kent in the United Kingdom with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais near Calais in northern France beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover. At its lowest point, it is deep...

  • Calais
    Calais
    Calais is a town in Northern France in the department of Pas-de-Calais, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Although Calais is by far the largest city in Pas-de-Calais, the department's capital is its third-largest city of Arras....

     ferry terminal
  • Dunkirk ferry terminal
  • Gare du Nord
    Gare du Nord
    Paris Nord is one of the six large terminus railway stations of the SNCF mainline network for Paris, France. It offers connections with several urban transportation lines, including Paris Métro and RER...

     station, Paris
    Paris
    Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...


Previously, Boulogne-sur-Mer
Boulogne-sur-Mer
-Road:* Metropolitan bus services are operated by the TCRB* Coach services to Calais and Dunkerque* A16 motorway-Rail:* The main railway station is Gare de Boulogne-Ville and located in the south of the city....

. No checkpoint since its port closed in August 2010.

Controversy

Following allegations that staff were told to relax some identity checks, in November 2011 the UK Home Office suspended: Brodie Clark
Brodie Clark
Robert Brodie Clark CBE is a British civil servant, and former head of the UK Border Force, a part of the UK Border Agency.-HM Prison Service:...

, the Head of UK border force; Carole Upshall, director of the Border Force South and European Operation; Graham Kyle, director of operations at Heathrow Airport. The Home Office is presently investigating allegations that Clark had agreed to "open up the borders" at certain times in ways ministers would "not have agreed with". It is alleged that between July and the end of October 2011, queues at passport control were "managed" so as not to annoy holiday makers. The BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 reported that staff may have been told not to scan biometric passport
Biometric passport
A biometric passport, also known as an e-passport or ePassport, is a combined paper and electronic passport that contains biometric information that can be used to authenticate the identity of travelers...

s at certain times, which contain a digital image of the holder's face, which can be used to compare with the printed version and check the passport has not been forged. It is also believed that "warning index checks" at Heathrow and Calais were also suspended, which would have applied strict security checks against official watchlists of terrorists, criminals, and deported illegal immigrants.

After Clark refused the offer to take early retirement, he was suspended and the investigation begun. Two investigations are being undertaken:
  • Dave Wood, ex-Metropolitan Police detective, currently Head of enforcement and crime group, UKBA: two-week inquiry designed to discover to what extent checks were scaled down, and what the security implications might have been
  • Mike Anderson, Ex-MI6 official, presently director general of the strategy, immigration and international group at the Home Office: investigate wider issues relating to the performance of UKBA


It was then announced on 5 November by Home Secretary
Home Secretary
The Secretary of State for the Home Department, commonly known as the Home Secretary, is the minister in charge of the Home Office of the United Kingdom, and one of the country's four Great Offices of State...

 Theresa May
Theresa May
Theresa Mary May is a British Conservative politician who is Home Secretary in the Conservative – Liberal Democrat Coalition government. She was elected to Parliament in 1997 as the Member of Parliament for Maidenhead, and served as the Chairman of the Conservative Party, 2003–04...

, that an independent inquiry would also be undertaken, led by the Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency, John Vine.

See also

  • Illegal immigration to the United Kingdom
    Illegal immigration to the United Kingdom
    Although it is difficult to know how many people reside in the UK illegally, a Home Office study released in March 2005 estimated a population of between 310,000 and 570,000. Migration Watch UK has criticised the Home Office figures for not including the UK-born dependent children of unauthorised...

  • Asylum shopping
    Asylum shopping
    Asylum shopping is a practice by asylum seekers of applying for asylum in several states or seeking to apply in a particular state after transiting other states. The term is used mostly in the context of the European Union and the Schengen area, but has been used by the Federal Court of Canada...

  • UK Immigration Service
    UK Immigration Service
    The United Kingdom Immigration Service, , was the operational arm of the Home Office, Immigration and Nationality Directorate...

  • HM Customs and Excise

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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