THOUSANDS of foreign criminals the Government wants to deport have been allowed to stay in Britain.
In another blow to their immigration policy, ministers have been forced to admit that, since April 2013, of 26,509 convicted foreigners referred for deportation, only 13,250 were actually kicked out of Britain.
The latest Home Office figures coincide with the introduction of a new system in May 2013 which aimed to increase the deportation of foreigners in UK jails.
Each inmate costs the taxpayer around £40,000 a year.
The revelation follows humiliation in recent weeks as the Conservative pledge to reduce immigration to the “tens of thousands” instead saw the biggest ever annual net increase of 330,000 in 2014/15.
Now, by ministers’ own admission, they cannot deport more than half of the foreign criminals in British jails.
According to a written answer to Tory MP Adam Afriyie, the UK tried to deport 10,786 foreign criminals – including rapists and murderers – but only succeeded in sending home 5,118 in 2013/14.
In 2014/15, only 5,277 out of 10,461 were deported and this year, up to September, only 2,855 out of 5,262.
Ukip immigration spokesman Steven Woolfe MEP said: “These numbers are evidence our immigration system is plagued by lawlessness. The only thing worse than the lack of enforcement of deportation orders is when those who are deported sneak back into the UK.
“But that is what is happening since the Home Office border control IT systems at ports and airports are not fit for purpose in counting who comes in and who leaves.
“On one hand, we have a growing ‘human rights industry’ which clogs Britain’s courts with facile legal challenges to allow criminals and bogus asylum seekers to stay and, on the other, we have no way of knowing who comes in or out of the country.”
But immigration minister James Brokenshire said many criminals did not meet deportation requirements.
He said: “While we aim to deport foreign offenders at the earliest opportunity, not all of those referred to the Home Office will meet the deportation threshold, some may later be confirmed as British or exempt from immigration control and some will be successful at appeal.”
He said the changed system from 2013 recorded all referrals for deportation, even criminals who did not meet the requirements, and therefore reflected in increase in numbers.