Capita wrongly telling people to leave the UK

Capita wrongly telling people to leave the UK


Written by: Frances Webber

Outsourcing of enforcement role causes confusion and distress as many are wrongly targeted.

In the second and third weeks of December 2012, as businesses wound down for Christmas and MPs went home, thousands of migrants, including students, workers and investors, received text messages or emails telling them they had no lawful leave to be in the country and should make arrangements to leave immediately ‘and provide proof that you have done so’. The texts and emails, headed ‘Message from the UK Border Agency’, were signed ‘Capita Business Services’. Some people were also contacted by phone, in some cases several times. Where solicitors were on record as acting for individuals, they were bypassed. In a number of cases the information Capita based their messages on was out of date or plain wrong; many recipients had valid leave to be in the country, while many others were awaiting a response from UK Border Agency (UKBA) to an application to stay or an MP’s representations. Some recipients thought the messages were spam or a sick joke; others were terrified.[1]

The Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA) complained to the UKBA before the Christmas break that the messages were highly unprofessional as well as distressing and often inaccurate, and in some cases breached data protection requirements. But at the beginning of January many more migrants reported receiving similar messages.

Capita won a contract with UKBA in September 2012 to find and remove up to 174,000 migrants illegally in the UK, after the independent inspector of UKBA, John Vine, found an apparent backlog of around 150,000 people who had overstayed visas but not been removed (dubbed the ‘migration refusal pool’).[2]  The backlog includes thousands of refused asylum seekers who cannot return to their countries because of war, natural disaster or other strong reasons, as well as many more who seek to remain on compassionate or family grounds.

The contract is worth up to £40 million over four years, with payment based on results (the numbers who leave after being contacted). But as Vine, the Home Affairs Committee and immigration lawyers are aware, UKBA record-keeping is notoriously inaccurate, and when the contract was announced, migrant and advisory organisations warned of the danger that people with the right to remain, or with outstanding applications to stay, would be forced or intimidated into leaving the country by a ‘bounty hunting’ approach.[3] Their concerns have been borne out, as accuracy, legality and the impact on vulnerable people of peremptory demands to leave appear to have been subordinated to the profit motive.

[1] Information provided by ILPA. [2]Capita gets contract to find 174,000 illegal immigrants’, BBC News, 18 September 2012. [3] See ASIRT, ‘Outsourcing removals and payment by results: a 21st century bounty hunt’, 18 September 2012.

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

21 thoughts on “Capita wrongly telling people to leave the UK

  1. A friend of mine was called at ten last night by someone who said they were from UKBA, saying he must go to the police station within twenty minutes after packing two bags, because he was going to be sent back to his country that night. He asked if he could ring his solicitor but they said if he did that they would block his phone. He told the man he was in the middle of his asylum case with a Judicial Review coming up but they said none of that was relevant and that he had to leave the country and that if he didn’t go now, they would come to arrest him….. I have a horrible feeling that this has the hallmarks of the new system for outsourcing deportations. If it is someone’s idea of a joke on the other hand, it is revealing that it feels all too real. To do this to someone who has already suffered brutal treatment at the hands of the police in his own country is cruel beyond words.

  2. i m also misguided by capita business services, they send me aletter with with statement of intention to depart on 23jan 2014 ireceived the post on 29jan2014 and booked ny ticet for india for 18 feb 14 and return the form with copy of ticketon nextday with 1st class recordrd delivery by royal mail sevice,now they hesitating to returned me on same day. when i contact home office at lunar house they said it is not posiible to send you return on 18 th feb14,. now i am in trouble and can’t cancelled ny ticet be cause i have no more money to buy a new ticket earlier i bought my ticket with someone’s help .if they not sending me intime i am going to kill myself by jumped down on rail/road track this is the final way to leave uk for me.

  3. No changes in Capita behaviour, it continues to intimidate immigrants by contacting and telling them that they need to leave the UK.

    Just wondering if it is possible to take a class legal action against capital / home office for intimidation and legal expenses incurred as result of their misleading letters

    Marek (July’2015)

  4. I have just received ANOTHER wrong letter telling me I “might be” illegally in the country which is dead wrong. American citizen, married to UK, here on 6 month visa with stamp April 20th meant to leave before Oct 20th
    received letter in August meaning they worked on case in July!
    Spoke to very nice girl on phone who took all my info and said she would “update their files” and not to worry about anything but they may need to contact me further via email.
    Harassing me when I’ve only used 4 months of my tourist visa; married to UK citizen, what a load of rubbish and waste of money

  5. Unfortunately Capita continues to do it. My sister, who left the UK years ago (before her visa had expired), has just received an email asking her to leave the Country.
    That’s unbelievable and in my opinion demonstrates how messy and out of control their system is. It just gives the impression that they don’t know what they are doing.

  6. My wife has also got a letter from Capita to make arrangements to leave the country as the Home Office has informed them that her leave to remain has expired.

    We have submitted a new application on Oct 26, 2015, one day before expiry of our Leave to Remain. Interestingly, I have got acknowledgement letter from the Home Office and date for both these letters is same.

    Capita Business Services is sending letters without doing proper homework and harassing people.

  7. My wife – resident in UK since 1988 and with indefinite leave to stay, has been phoned today by Capita warning her that she could be an illegal immigrant. As such they could deport her, imprison her , revoke her driving license (she does not have one!)etc etc.
    This call happened in the middle of her working day & really upset her.

  8. My Husband has suddenly received 2 text messages and an email from Capita over the last couple of days. The Reference number used is not correct and the contact phone number they gave is inactive. My husband has been living in the UK since 1962 (he was a 6 year old British Subject) at the time. We are just trying to get the old style stamp in his Passport up graded to a Biometric type document for his new Passport … Capita’s threats to deport him are at best stupid and at worse unlawful.

  9. I have receive a letter from capita yesterday saying that I should leave the uk I am currently waiting on the home office decision I have my acknowledgement letter from the homeoffice I am soon tramatise my solicitor did not receive a refusal Letter neither did I what is going on???

  10. Anyone knows how to make an complaint against Capita? They seem dont know what they doing at all?


  11. Yes. They are still doing it. I got text message and email this morning saying that I had to leave eventhogh I had a visa which will expire 2 years from now.

  12. I have lived in UK for over 25yrs and have grandchildren here never bothered to become British Citizen for personal reason. I have just received text and email from Capita stating I am illegal therefore should leave the country though I possess Indefinitely Leave to Reiman fucking soo anoying

  13. Does anyone know how capita managed to get the mobile number and email? Since Monday this week they hve been calling, textng and email me to leave the country when I just did my biometric in April.

    Please help.

  14. They harassing me and my family to leave the country,they even send email to my work place,it was embarrassing they have to force me out of work ,our emigration lawyer send the application forms already we are waiting for for them still,but this capta people are still harassing us to leave the country,it’s frustrating,its been 8moths naw .

  15. I left the UK on December 16, 2009, after my visa renewal was refused upon appeal.
    Since then, I have not returned to the UK. I have worked and lived in my country, earning a BA (soon to complete MA).
    One of the times when CAPITA contacted my relatives at my previous address, in London, and insisted that I leave the UK, was 07/03/2016.
    Although my relatives insisted that I had left the UK within the allotted time, CAPITA continued to phone them and threatened to forcefully remove me from my relatives’ home.
    I’ve written to the HO Complaints Department, but have not received a response. I’m concerned that I will never be able to visit my family.
    CAPITA has even threatened to send this erroneous information to various financial institutions!
    What am I to do?

  16. It is Blatant legalised threatening behaviour and the buck stops with the uk home office; they, after all, were the one’s to pass on highly confidential, private and personal information. They should be held legally to account and it should be made public headline news before the uk is shamed in the European court courts of law and the european human rights court so that the whole world can hear all about the hypocrisy and lies told to the world by the uk when it claims to be a leading upholder of human rights etc,etc. SHAME on the uk. Who do they think they are!!!!

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