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UK Border Agency: Good at making cash, crap at making decisions

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The UK Border Agency is failing to show consistency when making decisions about intra-company transfers and is more focused on making money, the organisation's chief inspector has said.

John Vine, the Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency, carried out his inspection between July and August 2010.

He found inconsistent approaches – some applicants were refused on minor grounds while others got extra time to provide extra information.

Such actions meant not only did applicants have to pay, and re-apply, again, but the random decision-making also led to a backlog of cases at the agency.

Vine was also concerned that there was no consistent approach to site visits after decisions were made. He also said the agency "did not routinely take the required action to curtail the leave of migrants who had stopped working for their sponsors whilst on a Tier 2 visa".

Vine did say the agency was mostly hitting targets, staff were professional, enthusiastic and committed and he'd received "positive feedback from stakeholders ...".

The report on the UK Border Agency is here.

In other UK border news, the coalition government said today it was abolishing limits on Tier 2 immigrants starting jobs in the UK on more than £150,000 a year. There is now an annual limit of 20,700 certificates of sponsorship – handed out in 12 monthly increments – although some 4,200 will be made available in April to deal with extra demand.

Intra-company transfers are considered separately and are also being changed.

Firstly, jobs must be on the graduate occupation list. Secondly, only those on £40,000 a year or more, can stay for more than a year. Such applicants get a three-year visa with the option of extending for another two years. Thirdly, those paid between £24,000 and £40,000 will only be able to work in the UK for 12 months before leaving. They must then wait 12 months before re-applying. ®

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