The Home Office has drawn up immigration policies on “anecdote, assumption and prejudice” instead of relying on evidence, the public accounts committee said.
The influential parliamentary committee has concluded Priti Patel’s department was unaware of the damage caused by policy failures on “both the illegal and legitimate migrant populations”.
It said in summary that Home Office’s officials had “no idea” what its £400m annual spending on immigration enforcement achieves.
Meg Hillier, chair of the committee, said: “The Home Office has frighteningly little grasp of the impact of its activities in managing immigration. It shows no inclination to learn from its numerous mistakes across a swathe of immigration activities – even when it fully accepts that it has made serious errors. It accepts the wreckage that its ignorance and the culture it has fostered caused in the Windrush scandal – but the evidence we saw shows too little intent to change, and inspires no confidence that the next such scandal isn’t right around the corner.”
The Home Office does not know whether hostile environment policies deterred illegal migration, while a lack of evidence and significant lack of diversity at senior levels has created blind spots in the organisation, the report said.
Minnie Rahman, campaigns and public affairs manager for the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, said the report painted a “very accurate picture of a clueless, careless and cold-hearted Home Office. It is but the latest in a slew of reports to slam the Home Office’s working culture and practices.”
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