Government were warned over security weaknesses of visa system

July 03, 2007

It emerged today that the Government were warned two years ago that the system of visa checks was inadequate for countries where there were particular concerns over terrorism.

Think-tank Migrationwatch issued a warning on 23 August, 2005 that pressure on our visa sections could compromise security. The report said that large numbers of people from countries of concern were, in effect, being waved through the system because of pressure on immigration officers overseas to meet targets.

Commenting today, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migrationwatch, said: ‘People are rightly concerned that our border controls have been allowed to crumble and they question why it is so easy for people to get into this country with only the most cursory of checks. The latest terrorist incidents should be a wake up call for the new government. It is not just a question of medical staff, the issue of all visas in countries which have a track record as a source of terrorism should now be subject to a root and branch review. Only those applicants interviewed by a UK based immigration officer should be permitted to enter Britain. The government has powers to take specific measures of this kind where necessary for immigration purposes. It should use them. The whole system needs tightening up in view of the risks we now face.’

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