A private services company, Capita has won a government US-style ‘bounty hunting’ contract to help find and remove more than 150,000 migrants who have overstayed their visas, it has been revealed by the BBC today.
UK Border Agency Chief Executive Rob Whiteman told MPs that the ‘payment-by-results’ deal will cost the taxpayer up to £40m.
However, Whiteman was unable to tell MPs exactly what target the company had been set for removals of visa overstayers.
The 174,000 have been denied permission to stay in the UK but have gone missing.
The existence of this backlog – dubbed the “migration refusal pool” – was revealed in July when the new chief inspector of immigration, John Vine, discovered it during his first inspection of a local immigration team, when it stood at 150,000. Since then it has grown to 174,000 people, the home affairs committee was told.
Previous Immigration Minister Damian Green promised that the pool, which dates back to 2008 when officials began counting it, would be cleared ‘quite quickly’.
But Mr Whiteman said it would never be entirely cleared as it was constantly being added to by people denied the right to remain in the UK.