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UK's immigration tip-offs database goes live

The United Kingdom Border Agency's National Allegations Database (NAD) went live on Sunday 30th September 2012. The UKBA says that it will help it to track down illegal immigrants. The NAD will contain details of all immigration cases. Each case, for the first time, will be given a unique case number. Until now, files were held locally and were often not computerised.

Without a unique reference number, it was impossible to track cases properly. Many files were handwritten, not computerised and kept in regional offices. There was therefore no way for the UKBA to track information about any given immigrant through the system. Any information received from members of the public about suspected illegal immigrants could not be matched up with immigration files.

As of Sunday, the NAD should remedy this error. The UKBA receives approximately 6,500 tip-offs a month about suspected illegal immigrants from members of the public. Although most of these are assessed and investigated within 48 hours, there are only about 200 arrests a month.

The UKBA system for contacting and deporting illegal immigrants was revealed to be in chaos in 2006 when half a million immigration case files were 'found' in a warehouse. The UKBA has still not cleared this backlog and recently awarded a contract to Capita to try to contact 150,000 people with whom it had lost contact. There are said to be 4,000 foreign criminals in Britain who were released from jail without being contacted by the UKBA. The UKBA should have considered them for deportation but failed to do so.

A UKBA spokesman said 'This new database will help ensure that we make the most of every piece of information we're given.'

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