UK Border Agency to be split into two separate immigration agencies

UK Home Secretary, Theresa May, announced this week that the UK's immigration Border Agencies will split in two after it was revealed that hundreds of thousands of people had passed through UK borders without having visas or passports checked. May released a statement to the House of Lords this week stating that the UK Border Agency and the UK Border Force are to cut all ties as the latter needs a complete management overhaul.

The revised UK Border Force will be led by Wiltshire Chief Constable Brian Moore and will have a different "ethos" concerning immigration enforcement compared with that of the UK Border Agency. Many of these changes are a result of last year's relaxed UK visa and passport checks that were carried out without ministerial permission.

The UK Border Agency is responsible for securing the UK border at air, rail and sea ports. They also are in charge of issuing all categories of UK visas including Tier 2 visas, Tier 1 visas, Tier 4 student visas, marriage and family related visas. It is not clear, yet, how the appropriate duties of immigration control will be broken up between the two immigration agencies.

John Vine, the independent chief inspector of the UKBA, issued a report detailing his findings that revealed that sweeping changes would need to be made in order to improve UK Border Security. He recommended several changes that needed to be implemented in order to improve UK border security, including splitting up the agencies.

"The Vine report makes a series of recommendations about how to improve the operation at the border, and I accept them all," said May. "The Border Force needs a whole new management culture. There is no getting away from the fact that UKBA, of which the Border Force is part, has been a troubled organisation since it was founded in 2008."

On the splitting up of UKBA, May said that "the extent of the transformational change required - in the agency's case working functions and in the Border Force - is too great for one organisation".

The UK Border Force would be split off from its parent, the UK Border Agency, beginning 1 March 2012 and "will become a separate operational command, with its own ethos of law enforcement, led by its own director general, and accountable directly to ministers".

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