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May 15, 2012

New UK student visa led to influx of about 50,000 illegal immigrants

     London: Immigration chiefs in the UK have been accused of creating 'complete chaos' after the bungled introduction of a new student visa policy that led to an influx of migrants to work illegally. According to The Independent, the debate came before the MPs of Damian Green, the Immigration Minister, to explain how three-hour long queues were built last month at Heathrow airport. The Commons public accounts committee (PAC) expressed surprise over the new policy system the UK Border Agency (UKBA) brought in 2009, though proper controls were put in place. The National Audit Office, which is a public spending watchdog, estimated that up to 50,000 people could have migrated into the country to work rather than study in the first year of operation. Margaret Hodge, the PAC's chairman, said: "It is one of the most depressing reports that I have read in terms of policy implementation." She said there was "complete chaos" with one-third of so-called students coming to work. Dame Helen Ghosh, the Home Office permanent secretary, admitted that the surge in applications "was indeed a surprise". Lin Homer, the former chief executive of UKBA, said: "It didn't feel like that when we were doing it... [the system] has proved very useful."
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