Government accused of 'rushing' statement on border agency split

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Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has claimed the government has been forced into rushing a decision to split the UK Border Agency (UKBA).

Responding to a statement from Home Secretary Theresa May on 26 March 2013, she said the announcement was a "hasty" response to yesterday's damning report by the Home Affairs Committee on the performance of the agency.

Mrs May told the Commons that the UKBA would be split into an immigration and visa service, and a law enforcement operation.

She said that performance of the agency was "not good enough", adding that the new organisations would not be "arms-length" agencies, and would therefore sit within the Home Office, reporting directly to ministers.

She concluded: "In truth the agency was not set up to absorb the level of mass immigration that we saw under the last government."

The agency was created in 2008 by the merger of the Border and Immigration Agency, UKvisas and parts of HM Revenue and Customs.

This followed Labour Home Secretary John Reid's 2006 declaration that the Home Office's immigration directorate was "not fit for purpose".

The UK Border Agency is responsible for securing the UK border at air, rail and sea ports and migration controls, such as the issuing of visas.

It employs the full-time equivalent of 23,500 people across the world, including 13,100 in the UK.

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