The face of UK travel just changed this week after Theresa May announced that she is scrapping the UK Border Agency. Now she wants to take a personal charge of Britain’s immigration controls. She went on to say that the UK Border Agency has been in “trouble” for a long time, and the time for it to end has come.
This organization, which has been under a lot of criticism during the past five years, will now be split into two different parts. Each of these parts will now report directly to Theresa May, which puts her in charge of everything.
The UK Border Agency has been called closed, defensive and too secretive to keep running the way it has. Theresa May, who is the home secretary, says that the only way to fix this problem is to do a grown up overhaul of the whole organization. In the end, they simply could not leave it as the UK Border Agency any longer.
Of course, this latest move has just fuelled speculations form other MPs that Theresa May is looking to succeed David Cameron. At the same time, this represents a very high risk move for her. If it works, and she fixes the UK’s travel and immigration problems, she will be a hero. If not, she will have to take full responsibility for her failures.
Either way, something did need to be done about the UK Border Agency. At the time of their closing, they had a backlog of some 300,000 unresolved asylum, travel and immigration cases. To fix this, it will now be divided into two sections. One half will deal with the visa system, and the other will enforce immigration laws. Either way, Theresa May is in charge of both sides, as they will both be reporting directly to her and the Immigration Minister, Mark Harper.
When announcing this, Theresa May said that the UK Border Agency has been a troubled group ever since it was first formed back in 2008. The performance of the group has not been well enough to keep around. In truth, this agency just was not set up to absorb the level of mass immigration that the UK has seen under the last government.
The Labour Chairman, Keith Vaz, said that she has done the right thing by putting the UK Border Agency out of its misery. He said that this group is not, and never was, fit for the purpose it was designed to control. However, this cannot be an excuse to simply clear the backlog to get everything up to speed. Now, however, without the UK Border Agency to take the fall, the ministers are on the chopping block.
This news came just a few days after David Cameron announced a new proposal that will limit all benefits for new immigrates that travel to the UK. This is his attempt to reduce Britain’s appeal to people from Bulgaria and Romania. These two countries will soon gain the right to “live and work” in the UK next year. If something is not done, this is going to put an even bigger strain on the UK’s unemployment numbers as more people start coming to the country looking for work.