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 Pakistani Nationals Recruited As Immigration Officials

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PostSubject: Pakistani Nationals Recruited As Immigration Officials   Sun Jul 05, 2009 7:56 am

The British Foreign Office is currently recruiting Pakistani nationals to work in the British High Commision’s Abu Dhabi visa decision support team – despite Pakistan being identified as the origin of two thirds of all terror plots in the United Kingdom.

The open offer to Pakistani nationals via the British High Commission in Islamabad was uncovered by a BNP News research project into the continued failings of the UK Borders Agency to properly vet immigrant applications from countries with a record of exporting terrorism to Britain.

In the latest such news, it has emerged that High Commission officials in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad have been overwhelmed with 66,415 visa applications in the last eight months. There are eleven ‘entry clearance officers’ – who appear to be mostly recruited as local Pakistanis – and two managers.

That is the equivalent of 43 applications every day if they all work eight hours a day for 20 days a month – or eleven minutes per application.

Officials are not checking supporting evidence in thousands of applications from Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan, and there have been no back-up telephone interviews on applications.

Research by BNP News on current vacancies on offer at the High Commission in Islamabad, Adu Dabhi (to where all Asian applications are now ultimately sent), has revealed that local staff are recruited to help vet the mass of applications – raising a whole new set of security issues.

It would appear that the vetting teams are sourced from the same population which make the applications – a bit like using the inmates of a prison as the gate guards.

According to the High Commission in Islamabad, Pakistani nationals are being asked to apply for four jobs as “Decision Support Tool Team Member” at a salary of 38,005 rupees per month.

Applicants are required to have “at least one year office based experience” and visa experience is “desirable” but not mandatory.

The job description states that the applicants will be expected to “accurately complete the seven tabs of the Decision Support Tool for applications to be assessed by ECOs (Entry Clearance Officer) in Abu Dhabi; to assess applications by detailing the documents to the DST (Decision Support Team), including information contained within a passport; to check for non-genuine documents or any other fraudulent information and pass those found to the DST manager; to forward to the Document Verification Unit potentially suspicious documents for further checks, and to write appraisals on LE IV/V colleagues.”

As if to highlight the fact that these people aren’t even remotely linked to Britain, the job description detail states that there “will be a written English and typing test at the interview stage” and that the “British High Commission is an equal opportunity employer.” Job applications must be submitted to the Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5, P. O. Box 1122, Islamabad.

All but one of the 12 suspects arrested over an alleged plot to bomb shopping centres in Manchester earlier this year came to Britain from Pakistan using student visas.

The fact that locals are being used to check applications from their own community is even more disturbing in the light of a new report from the Independent Monitor for Entry Clearance (IMEC), which found that “immigration officials are not carrying out proper checks on thousands of visa applications by visitors from high-risk countries including Pakistan and Iran.”

Linda Costelloe Baker, head of the IMEC, said in her official report that border control staff at visa issuing offices overseas were understaffed and “under strain.”

They were frequently at risk of not spotting immigration cheats, she added. “The UK Border Agency staff do not have enough time to go through applications carefully.”

Officials were under pressure coping with the visa processing system in countries including Pakistan, Iran and Bangladesh.

While all passports are checked, officials only examine other supporting documents in 80 percent of cases, meaning some 13,283 applications did not have additional evidence checked.
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