The UK Border Agency is to be split into 2 separate entities – an immigration and visa service and an immigration law enforcement organisation - as part of a package of changes announced today.
Further changes include removing its agency status and bringing the new organisations into the Home Office, reporting to ministers.
Additionally there will be improvements to the IT systems across the whole immigration system and clarification of the policy and legal framework within which the system operates through an Immigration Bill in the next session of Parliament.
In a statement to Parliament, Home Secretary Theresa May said:
Since 2010 we have introduced a limit on economic migration from outside the EU, cut out abuse of student visas and reformed family visas. As a result net migration is down by a third.
We have also started to get to grips with the performance of the organisations that enforce our immigration laws. Since we split the Border Force from UKBA last year, 98 per cent of passengers go through passport control within target times and Border Force meets all of its passenger service targets.
But the performance of what remains of UKBA is still not good enough. By creating two entities instead of one, we will be able to create distinct cultures.
First, a high-volume service that makes high-quality decisions about who comes here, with a culture of customer satisfaction for businessmen and visitors who want to come here legally. And second, an organisation that has law enforcement at its heart and gets tough on those who break our immigration laws.
It will take many years to clear the backlogs and fix the system – but I believe the changes I have announced today will put us in a much stronger position to do so.