Timeline of immigration enforcement in the United Kingdom

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This page provides a timeline of key events related to immigration enforcement in the United Kingdom. The focus is on enforcement activities such as those carried out by Immigration Enforcement, detention operations, and border patrol carried out by the Border Force. Changes to visa policy or nationality policy are not included, except insofar as they very directly tie in with enforcement.

Full timeline

Year Month and date (if available) Event type Affected agencies (past, and present equivalents) Details
1905 August 11 Legislation Executive branch, specifically home ministry The Aliens Act 1905 is the first Act to introduce immigration controls and registration. The Home Secretary is given overall responsibility for immigration and nationality matters. While the Act is ostensibly designed to prevent paupers and criminals from migrating and to deport those who migrated, its unstated motivation seems to be to control Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe.
1914 August 5 Legislation Executive branch, specifically home ministry The Aliens Restriction Act 1914 is passed in a single day on the eve of World War I. The Act requires every person entering the country to produce evidence of identity at the time of entry. The Act effectively supersedes the Aliens Act 1905 due to much more stringent provisions.[1] The power still remains in use.[2][3]
1920 The UK Immigration Service begins operation under the Home Office, under the name of Aliens Branch.
1925 By this time, an immigration officer is present at Croydon Airport, the UK's main airport (taken from Wikipedia page, no citation present).
1933 The Aliens Branch changes its name to the Immigration Branch. The most recent name prior to being disbanded is UK Immigration Service.
1973 The Immigration Branch changes its name to the UK Immigration Service.
1987 The Carriers' Liability Act is passed. The Act places liability on carriers for passengers they bring without proper documents.[4]
1993 The Campsfield House deention centre is opened. This is to provide the Immigration Service with additional capacity of 200 to detail people, beyond the 180 or so places available at airports.
1993 The first Airline Liaison Officer (ALO) is posted in the Delhi airport, to prevent people from boarding if they have suspect documentation. ALO deployments would increase over the year, reaching 57 by 2001. The number of passengers prevented from boarding would reach 2095 in 1998 and 4999 in 1999.
1998 July 27 Under the Labour government of 1997 to 2001, the document Fairer, Faster And Firmer - a modern approach to immigration and asylum is published by the Home Office.[5] The paper promises an expansion of detention centres, and leads to a lot of detention centre construction.
2000 February 6 A group of hijackers led by brothers Ali Safi and Mohammed Safi hijack a local flight in Afghanistan to fly to and land at Stansted Airport in Essex. 79 of the passengers claim asylum in the United Kingdom. This would lead to a court case that would lead to judicial rulings in 2006 stating that the hijackers' actions do not make them ineligible for asylum. Both parties condemn the rulings, and opposition blames them on the Labour Party's Human Rights Act 1998. See 2006 Afghan hijackers case for more.
2001 February The Immigration and Nationality Directorate's (IND) Casework Application Programme contract with Siemens Business Services is cancelled, after it is determined that Siemens would be unable to deliver what IND wants. The goal was to provide a strong information technology backbone for IND operations. The contract was signed in April 1996 for delivery in October 1998, but delivery had been repeatedly delayed prior to the cancellation of the contract.[6]
2007 April 1 Organizational restructuring Border and Immigration Agency; current equivalents: Immigration Enforcement, Border Force, UK Visas and Immigration The Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) is created through as an executive agency of the British Home Office. It replaces the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND), and its operational arm, the UK Immigration Service.
2008 April 1 Organizational restructuring UK Border Agency; current equivalents: Immigration Enforcement, Border Force, UK Visas and Immigration The UK Border Agency is created as part of the Home Office, through a merger of the Border and Immigration Agency, UKvisas, and the detection function of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. The agency would suffer a similar fate as the similar Immigration and Naturalization Service in the United States: it would be shut down and its functions handed over to more specific agencies.
2012 March 1 Organizational restructuring Border Force The Border Force is spun off from the UK Border Agency. It controls air and sea ports of entry and also monitors the rest of the border. It is similar to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
2012 April 1 Organizational restructuring Immigration Enforcement Immigration Enforcement is spun off from the UK Border Agency. It carries out visits in residential and business premises to identify people present without an authorised status, and initiate removal proceedings. It is similar to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
2013 April 1 Organizational restructuring UK Border Agency; current equivalents: Immigration Enforcement, Border Force, UK Visas and Immigration The UK Border Agency is dissolved. Border Force and Immigration Enforcement already report directly to the Home Office; the visas function is spun off as UK Visas and Immigration (the UK equivalent of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services).

References

  1. "Aliens Registration Cards". The National Archives. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  2. https://www.gov.uk/register-with-the-police
  3. "Aliens Restriction Act, 1914" (PDF). Retrieved November 19, 2017. 
  4. "Immigration (Carriers' Liability) Act 1987". Retrieved November 19, 2017. 
  5. "Fairer, Faster And Firmer - a modern approach to immigration and asylum". United Kingdom Home Office. July 27, 1998. Retrieved November 21, 2017. 
  6. Simons, Mike (February 1, 2001). "Home Office cancels key immigration IT system". Retrieved November 21, 2017.