The UK Border Agency (UKBA) was the border control agency of the British government and part of the Home Office. It was formed as an executive agency on 1 April 2008 by a merger of the Border and Immigration Agency (BIA), UKvisas and the Detection functions of HM Revenue and Customs. The decision to create a single border control organisation was taken following a Cabinet Office report.
The agency's head office was 2 Marsham Street, London. Rob Whiteman became Chief Executive in September 2011. Over 23,000 staff worked for the agency, in over 130 countries. It was divided into four main operations, each under the management of a senior director: operations, immigration and settlement, international operations and visas and law enforcement.
The agency came under formal criticism from the Parliamentary Ombudsman for consistently poor service, a backlog of hundreds of thousands of cases, and a large and increasing number of complaints. In the first nine months of 2009–10, 97% of investigations reported by the Ombudsman resulted in a complaint against the agency being upheld. The complainants were asylum, residence, or other immigration applicants.
On 26 March 2013, following a scathing report into the agency's incompetence by the Home Affairs Select Committee, it was announced by Home Secretary Theresa May that the UK Border Agency would be abolished and its work returned to the Home Office. Its executive agency status was removed as of 31 March 2013 and the agency was split into two new organisations; UK Visas and Immigration focusing on the visa system and an immigration enforcement organisation focusing on immigration law enforcement. The immigration enforcement part of the UKBA had already been separated from the rest of the agency in April 2012 as the Border Force.