15:17 19 September 2012
Services company Capita has won a lucrative government contract to act as bounty hunters in order to track down missing illegal immigrants.
The BBC valued the contract at £40m while The Independent and Financial Times stated a £30m figure paid through a rewards-by-results deal.
More than 170,000 illegal immigrants have gone missing on British shores and will now be hunted by the private sector firm who stand to collect the full amount of their contract if it finds all of the migrants identified by the UK Border Agency.
The contract does not actually specify how many people it has to remove however.
Rob Whiteman, chief executive of UKBA, told the Home Affairs Select Committee: “The contract is on payment by results, where they will make contact with potential overstayers from our records.
“The potential value of the contract, if they performed very well over a four-year period, would be around £40 million.
“Capita will be paid for the number of people who they make contact with and leave.
“If nobody leaves, because they make contact with them, nobody will get paid.”
The bounty relates to 'overstayers' whose visas have expired but have failed to leave, appeal or reapply.
Capita staff will warn those found and give practical advice on their departure but will not forcibly remove them, instead passing on their details to immigration officers.
The four-year Capita contract follows a pilot project by a firm named Serco which resulted in 20% of 'overstayers' leaving the United Kingdom within six months of being contacted.
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