The UK Border Agency (UKBA) lacks the information needed to manage immigration effectively, a report has warned.
A lack of control over schemes outside of the Government's immigration cap risks harming UK workers, a lack of exit controls makes it harder to ensure migrant workers leave when they are supposed to, and a lack of control over sponsors means the agency does not even know where the main risks lie.
The report by the Commons Committee of Public Accounts (PAC) added that while the points-based system was still an improvement on its predecessor, it "has yet to fully meet its objectives".
Margaret Hodge, the committee's chairwoman, said: "The fundamental point is that the agency lacks the management information needed to manage migrant numbers and ensure that the rules are complied with."
The MPs found the lack of control over firms using the intra-company transfer route to bring migrant workers to the UK risks harming the interests of residents.
Tens of thousands of IT workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) are using the scheme, which is not covered by the Government's immigration cap, to come to the UK at a time when residents with IT skills cannot find work, said the committee.
Checks on the scheme, which enables multi-national companies to send workers from outside the EEA to UK branches if they earn above £40,000, are "much more limited" than in other areas of the UK's immigration system and up to 40% of the salary can consist of living allowances.
"In these circumstances, some companies may use cheaper workers from outside the EEA rather than UK resident workers," said the PAC. "We are concerned that the agency has not been doing enough to protect resident workers and ensure that migrant workers and sponsoring employers comply with immigration rules."
It added that the UKBA, hampered by a lack of exit controls, has failed to monitor migrants' right to remain in the UK and to make sure they leave when they are supposed to.
Some 181,000 people who should have left may still be in the UK, the agency estimates, but "it does not have the right information to know if this is an accurate estimate", said the committee.