Airline passengers could face new quest at Borders checks

Hotel News - 17/10/2013

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A new set of border checks at departure gates are due to be introduced in approximately 18 months’ time.

A new Immigration Bill is being drawn up by ministers with new tactics to “minimise the impact” the new measures will require all travellers to have their passports swiped before they board their flight.

The new boarding checks are cause for concern due to the amount of delays and queuing they will cause following the delays in arriving at Heathrow and other airports last year.

Immigration minister Mark Harper said the Government wanted airline staff to take on some of the powers of an immigration officer and can carry out passport checks at the departure gate.

The new Bill states that should airlines refuse to co-operate and carry out the checks, they could face a fine. Their staff would be expected to check passports against electronic databases to “identify threats or persons of interest”.

The minister went on to say “We have already committed to introducing exit checks by 2015. This legislation will introduce powers to enable carrier and port operator staff to play a role in carrying out these checks.

“This will help improve our already robust security at the border, while causing as little disruption to passengers as possible. Our aim is to make it much harder for offenders to flee British justice and to better identify those who are in the UK illegally.”

However, the chief executive of the Board of Airline Representatives, Dale Keller, said “We believe it is the Government’s fundamental responsibility, rather than the airlines, to do this type of check”.

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