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The Unnameables


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I recently suggested that the new name for the Immigration and Nationality Directorate Border and Immigration Agency UK Border Agency remains unknown. That is not really true, it turns out, and we are not expected to carry on treating it as the bureaucratic equivalent of The Scottish Play. It is just that there has been no official naming ceremony or announcement as such.

The marvellous Sue Shutter wrote in gently to correct me:

Three witches from The Scottish Play

Re UKBA as was, there are new names that the Home Office knows, even if they haven’t been announced to anyone else:

UK Visas and Immigration (the cuddly bit)

Immigration Enforcement Directorate (the scary bit)

There is also the Border Force and a new ‘Operational Systems Transformation Directorate‘ – which sounds as clear as the Case Audit and Assurance Unit.

The list was provided in a recently published letter to the Home Affairs Committee.

This was a few days after the committee’s latest quarterly report on what was still then the UK Border Agency. At paragraph 13 the committee notes that Rob Whiteman’s responsibilities have been cut by three-quarters, but he still has the same salary as when he started…

There is no sign of the website and its corporate branding being changed yet. Apparently it will be rolled into gov.uk, but it is hard to imagine the sprawling, complex mess that is the UKBA website being streamlined and simplified into a useable modern website. At least without the sprawling, complex mess that is immigration law and policy being sorted out first, which seems unlikely. The Home Office regard complexity and obscurity as a policy tool to reduce immigration: it acts as a deterrent to anyone who cannot afford a lawyer.

A further thought from Tim Lawrence at Southwark Law Centre to end on:

UK Visas and Immigration reminds me of my Welsh grandmother who used to say “ych a fi” (pronounced “uckavee”) which means “yuck” or “disgusting”

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Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder of the Free Movement immigration law website.


4 Responses

  1. “The Home Office regard complexity and obscurity as a policy tool to reduce immigration” And I thought it was just me that thought that…

    Has anyone actually asked about the cost of the changes. We keep being told there’s no money, but stationery/signage etc doesn’t come cheap

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