The UK Border Agency was established as a shadow agency of the Home Office in April 2008 to ‘secure our borders and control migration for the benefit of the country.’ The Agency brought together the Border and Immigration Agency, some of the overseas and border operations of HM Revenue and Customs and UKvisas. We achieved full agency status on 1 April 2009.
International Group is an integral part of the UK Border Agency, with 3000 staff in 135 locations throughout the world, working to help deliver the Agency’s three objectives of:
- Protecting our border and our national interests.
- Tackling border tax fraud, smuggling and immigration crime.
- Implementing fast and fair decisions.
In 2008, International Group issued almost 2 million visas, welcoming businessmen, students, tourists and skilled workers to the UK. We refused nearly 500,000 visas, because applicants did not meet or could not demonstrate that they met our entry criteria. Working with carriers, our Risk and Liaison Overseas Network (RALON) prevented nearly 67,000 people boarding planes without proper documents. The visa process got smoother for applicants, and there are now more than 250 locations world-wide where people can apply for visas (up from 150 at the beginning of 2007). Half of our applicants apply online.
With the implementation of biometrics and related checks, we can provide visa applicants with assurance against identity fraud. The points-based system gives applicants greater clarity about their eligibility before they apply. Our work with commercial partners has enabled us to handle sharply increasing demand while also improving customer service.
UK Border Agency Business Plan
The plan sets out the objectives for the whole organisation.
UK Border Agency Visa Services Network Design Project
More about our overseas visa network