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U.K. Will Split Border Agency to Create Faster Visa Service

March 26, 2013

The U.K. Border Agency will be split into a visa-issuing body and an immigration-policing organization after it struggled to deal with arrival lines at airports and caused long waits for visas.

In a statement to Parliament in London today, Home Secretary Theresa May said both the new bodies will be moved back into the Home Office, to be under her direct responsibility, rather than being managed at arm’s length, as UKBA was.

“What we have been doing is sorting out a chaotic immigration system,” May told lawmakers. “It’s the approach that’s going to deal with the problem that was caused by the creation of this body by the last government.”

The visa service will focus on making it easier for people to visit the U.K., taking quick decisions, May said. UKBA had a backlog of 312,726 immigration cases in the three-month period ending in September 2012, according to a report published yesterday by Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee.

Keith Vaz, the Labour Party chairman of that committee, praised May for a decision to put “the U.K. Backlogs Agency out of its misery.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Hutton in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at

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