UK immigration outlines new security standards for UK borders

UK Immigration Minister Damien Green announced that there will be specific minimum standards for border checks. This follow concerns last year that UK immigration officers were acting without ministerial approval and allowing people into the UK without proper passport and UK visa checks.

Green said that the correct level of passport and UK visa immigration checks "for every type of passenger and all types of goods" would be detailed with guidance making clear when they could be strengthened in high-risk cases, and the circumstances wherein they could be suspended.

Technology will make UK immigration e-borders "genuinely secure, fluid and complete" over the next few years, Green added. He said that by April 2012, UK immigration will have "advanced sight of details for every passenger on non-EEA (European Economic Area) flights travelling to the UK."

Green stated that "combined with our strict visa regime it means that all non-EEA passengers arriving from outside Europe will have been checked once, and many twice, while they are still thousands of miles from our passport controls."

The £750 million e-borders immigration project was launched by the last Labour government and is designed to collect and store information on all passengers who enter and leave the UK on a single database by 2014 to enable the police and UK immigration officials to check them against watch lists.

Earlier this year the UK Border Force was split from the UK Border Agency to become a separate law-enforcement body.

"The first step in the process to ensuring the Border Force becomes a fully effective law enforcement organisation is to introduce a new operating mandate for the controls it operates at the border," he said.

"There can be no compromises on border security. In a dangerous world, our border is one of our main protections," said Green. "It is about making sure that we are in the right place, at the right time, with the right information to stop the source of the threat before it even reaches our shores."

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