12:44 25 July 2012
It has been revealed that the UK Border Agency has a backlog of 275,000 cases - an equivalent to the population of Newcastle.
This figure is made up of failed asylum seekers, foreign criminals hiding out, illegal immigrants and others who are refusing to leave Britain. The backlog is expected to take years to rectify and has drawn sharp criticism from the government and public alike.
Keith Vaz, the committee's chairman and Labour MP, said that the agency seems to have "acquired its own Bermuda triangle".
"It's easy to get in, but near impossible to keep track of anyone, let alone get them out.
"This is the first time that the committee has collated all the cases at the UK Border Agency that await resolution. This backlog is now equivalent to the entire population of Newcastle upon Tyne."
The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, which represents Home Office staff and related staff, has proposed a 24-hour strike on Thursday which is the day before the official opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.
Regarding he backlog, the committee claimed that the total included at least 21,000 asylum cases, 150,000 migrants who have been refused permission to stay in the UK but who may still be in the country illegally and 3,900 foreign offenders living in the community.
A confirmed 57 foreign criminals who were released in 2006 without having their deportation confirmed have also gone missing through the system's cracks.
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