The Home Affairs Committee has said today that it can’t see how the Government can fulfil its pledge to deliver 100% exit checks – reiterating concerns recently highlighted by the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
FTA had previously said that the proposed manual passport checks at the main cross-Channel terminals would cause traffic chaos and long tailbacks of traffic which could result in Operation Stack being implemented on Kent motorways on a regular basis.
The new passport checking system is to be introduced from 8 April 2015, when all travellers leaving Britain will have to have their passports manually checked.
The Home Affairs Committee report, The work of the Immigration Directorates: Calais was published today (23 March), and states that to make it happen will require the Government conceding greater exemptions in addition to coachloads of under 16s. The Home Office must publish a definitive list of what is included in the scope of the programme by the time Parliament rises.
Don Armour – FTA’s Manager – International Affairs stated:
“This Home Affairs Committee report confirms FTA’s concerns over the new proposed manual individual passport checks. We have already said that we are not convinced that the proposed passport checking system has been thought through properly or that it is as robust as officials would have us believe, and as a result we believe it will cause delays at the ports and exit points – and chaos on the roads leading to departure.”
The checks will involve operators recording passport information on all travellers and passing the details on to the Home Office, which will use the details to identify immigration offenders.
FTA is calling for proper segregation of vehicles as they approach the cross-Channel terminals in order that single occupancy vehicles are separated from those with multiple passengers – including coaches – and can be dealt with quickly and efficiently to avoid delays to time-sensitive loads during the passport checking process.
The Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons has today published its final report of the Parliament as part of its ongoing scrutiny into the work of UKVI, Immigration Enforcement, and Border Force. The Report focuses on three areas: the situation in Calais, the introduction of Exit Checks, and Criminal Record Checks of people entering the country.