This is why you need to vote BNP - to make sure the doors to Britain are shut.
Thursday May 28,2009
By Mark Reynolds BRITAIN’S new paperwork system for allowing temporary entry for visitors is a major security concern, claims an immigration officer who has spent 17 years checking visas at Heathrow.
Mike Whiting – a retired chief immigration officer with 38 years’ experience at the UK Immigration Service – turned whistleblower yesterday, alleging cost-cutting within the new UK Border Force means the loss of vital face-to-face interviews with visa applicants, resulting in an “open door” immigration policy.
He said: “By losing personal interviews you are losing the personal touch.
“The system is much more open to abuse now when you are dealing only with documents in countries where it is easy to obtain forgeries.
“On the one hand, the new system seems like a much more stringent approach because more documents are required, but on the other, applicants are not faced by an experienced entry officer who can question them on their background.
“In those days when people with visas arrived at a port or airport an immigration officer would still question them.
“But nowadays the emphasis is not on having a second bite of the cherry unless someone really stands out. The emphasis is to get them through quickly.”
This inevitably leads to security concerns, he said.
“My view is shared by those who have recently retired and have a number of years experience within the service and know what the old system is like.
“With the large numbers of people wanting to come here maybe you can’t go back to the old system. But certainly from a security point of view the loss of the personal interview is a concern.”
Mr Whiting, 59, spent four years as an entry clearance officer in Mumbai, India, where he and other British-based staff would interview almost all applicants, particularly students.
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He said: “On the subcontinent there is such a problem with forged documents and you can’t take things at face value. You can only find out whether an application is genuine or not by talking to them.
“Not that we got everything right back then – it was far from a perfect system. But you feel now that because the majority of it is done on a tick-box system, it is an open-door policy.
“What they are tending to do abroad now is to centralise things to cut costs. In India there were four district centres for UK Immigration: Chennai, Calcutta, Delhi and Mumbai. But now it is all done through Delhi, meaning face-to-face interviews are a logistical nightmare.”
Speaking at home in Fetcham, Leatherhead, Surrey, semi-retired Mr Whiting said he also had concerns about the recent creation of the UK Border Force.
He said: “Previously you had Immigration officers and Customs officers working completely separately but now they all come under the same banner.
“A lot of very senior Immigration officials were pensioned off and replaced by customs workers who, with the best will in the world, do not have long-term knowledge of immigration work.”
A Home Offi ce spokesperson said: “Britain’s border is stronger than ever. Fingerprint visas mean we can check everyone who wants to come to the UK against immigration and crime databases.
“These checks are a crucial part of securing the border and they have already detected at least 5,000 false identities.
“Fingerprint visas make up one part of Britain’s triple ring of security, alongside hi-tech watchlist checks at the border and ID cards for foreign nationals and work alongside the tough new rules of the points-based system to protect Britain's border."