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.’