181,000 with Expired Visas 'Still in Britain'
Byline: Jack Doyle Home Affairs Correspondent
AROUND 181,000 migrants are thought to be living in Britain unlawfully after their visas expired, a report said last night.
The total includes students and workers from outside the EU who should have left the country in the last two-anda-half years.
UK Border Agency bosses came under fire from MPs after admitting they have no idea how many have returned home because they do not count people out of the country.
A new system to monitor electronically everyone who departs will not be fully in place for at least another two years.
The report, by the Commons Public Accounts Committee, warned the agency not to use the lack of exit controls as an 'excuse' to ignore thousands who are overstaying illegally.
Committee chairman Margaret Hodge said: 'The agency has not got a grip on making sure migrant workers whose visas have expired actually leave the UK.
'It estimates that 181,000 such workers are staying on without permission - but it can't even verify the figures, and does not try to enforce the employer's duty to ensure that the people they bring in leave when they are required to do so.'
The report also raised fears that British workers may be missing out on jobs because some foreign workers are exempt from the Government's immigration cap.
Tens of thousands of non-EU workers who arrive every year through the 'intra-company transfer route' are not counted as adding to the official limit.
Instead they must comply with a salary minimum, set at [pounds sterling]40,000 for anyone staying over a year, to ensure they are not simply cheap replacements for British staff. …