Capita says 8,000 potential illegal visa 'overstayers' have left UK

UKBA officer The UK Border Agency has been split into two bodies

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More than 8,000 people previously thought to have illegally overstayed their visa have, in fact, left the UK, Capita has revealed.

In September 2012 the UK Border Agency awarded the services company a contract worth up to £40m to find more than 150,000 missing people.

By the end of March, Capita told UKBA 8,328 of them had left the UK and it had managed to contact a further 5,250.

The government said it was "pleased" with progress made so far.

The existence of the "migration refusal pool" - those refused leave to stay longer in the UK but whose departure from the country had not been confirmed - was revealed in July last year.

The chief inspector of immigration, John Vine, said it stood at more than 150,000 at the time.

UKBA says Capita had sorted through the records of 79,336 people by the end of March this year.

The figures are disclosed in UKBA'a final annual report, which comes after it was split it into two bodies - UK Visas and Immigration and an Immigration Enforcement command.

Capita's payment-by-results deal is worth up to £40m, but the target it faces has not been revealed.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We are pleased with the progress that Capita is making on migration refusal pool cases. Their work ensures we can focus on tackling immigration abuse.

"Allowing people with no right to be in the country to stay here indefinitely undermines the immigration system. Any individuals with no right to be in the UK are expected to return home."

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