A British outsourcing company has been awarded a £40m contract to track down immigrants who have been refused permission to stay in the UK.
Capita plc is a £3b group whose services range from collecting TV license fees for the BBC to managing the Criminal Records Bureau for the Home Office.
The UK Border Agency has now charged the company with finding more than 170,000 immigrants who have either overstayed their visas or have been denied leave to remain in Britain.
Capita was reportedly chosen after a pilot scheme with another private firm, Serco, found that 20% of those migrants contacted left the UK within 6 months.
The UKBA revealed in July that it had no knowledge of the whereabouts of the national “migration refusal pool”.
The numbers were discovered during a routine inspection of a Hampshire migration team whose staff reported the impossibility of knowing whether more than 150,000 migrants refused permission to stay were still in Britain or had left voluntarily.
The Home Office has since added a further 20,000 migrants to the list, which does not include those who entered the UK illegally or failed asylum seekers.
Officials at the UKBA admitted about 40% of those in the "refusal pool" had not even been formally served with the documents informing them that they had to leave Britain within 28 days.
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