Posts Tagged ‘UKBA’


[BBTN] Airports have warned of potential delays through immigration control on Wednesday (March 20) due to a strike by Border Force staff.

“Action will start with a 24-hour strike on budget day,” said the PCS.

“Action will start with a 24-hour strike on budget day,” said the PCS. Photo: Wikipedia

Employees, who are members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, are due to go on a 24-hour strike designed to coincide with tomorrow’s budget from chancellor George Osborne.

UK Border Agency said in a statement: “Our top priority is minimising disruption to our public-facing services and our public offices will remain open for business. We apologise for any disruption to services which result from this industrial action.”

Heathrow warned that arriving passengers “may experience some delays at immigration” but said it was not changing any flight schedules.

“The Home Office has assured us it has contingency plans in place to minimise any disruption caused by the strike,” said the airport. “We are operating a normal flight schedule and we are not advising passengers to change their plans.”

PCS workers around the UK are taking industrial action in protest at proposed cuts to pay, pensions and working conditions. The union said the timing of the strike was designed “to put maximum pressure on ministers who are refusing to talk to us”.

“Action will start with a 24-hour strike on budget day,” said the PCS. “When the chancellor stands up to deliver his budget we’ll be protesting across the UK.”

Stansted said its flights would be operating as normal but added they may be some delays at passport control.

UK Border Force has contingency plans in place and we will work with them to ensure any disruption to our passengers is kept to a minimum,” said the airport.

It was a similar message from Luton which advised incoming passengers to take a series of steps to ease any potential delays including the use of automatic e-Passport gates, having landing cards fully completed and staying in family groups.

For the latest updates on the strike from UKBA, CLICK HERE…..

Read the original story at Buying Business travel…..


Buying Business Travel
19th Mar, 2013


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[Belfast TelegraphHeathrow airport has been ordered by the Border Force to stop handing out  leaflets to passengers acknowledging the “very long delays” at immigration.

Marc Owen, director of UKBA told BAA that leaflets are "inappropriate" and that ministers would take "a very dim view".

Amid increasing anger at the length of queues for travellers arriving at  border control, airport operator BAA has tried to defuse tensions with a leaflet  apologising for the problems.

It said people arriving in the country “deserved a warmer welcome” and  explained how to complain to the Home Office.

But Marc Owen, director of UK Border Agency operations at Heathrow, has told  BAA that the leaflets are “inappropriate” and that ministers would take “a very  dim view”.

In an email obtained by The Daily Telegraph, he said: “The leaflet… is both inflammatory and likely to increase tensions in arrivals halls especially in the current atmosphere. It is inappropriate in that it is not for you to display how to complain on our behalf.

“Please refrain from handing out (the leaflets) or I will escalate (the  matter) with ministers who are likely to take a very dim view. I know there are copies in the hall and your troops are ready with them.”

Mr Owen also told BAA to prevent passengers taking pictures in the arrivals  hall. Pictures of lengthy queues have been posted on……

Read the full story at The Belfast Telegraph…..


Belfast Telegraph
28th April 2012



[Daily Mail] The police have been forced to step in as angry travellers, frustrated with long queues at Britain’s airports, have started rushing through passport control without showing their documents as passengers are regularly forced to wait 90 minutes

Police forced to step in as airport delay row worsens: Angry travellers are now storming through security without showing their passports: Flickr 'ukhomeoffice'

Police forced to step in as airport delay row worsens: Angry travellers are now storming through security without showing their passports: Flickr 'ukhomeoffice'

There have been a number of incidents in recent weeks, including a Spanish man who had to be restrained by counter-terrorism officers at Heathrow on Wednesday after bursting through security.The news follows reports passengers are forced to wait up to 90 minutes to clear passport control at Heathrow and increases pressure on Immigration Minister Damian Green to step in and address the problem.

Last month 20 passengers stormed through security at Birmingham Airport, angry  after waiting for two hours and police were deployed at Heathrow on Thursday after a group of fuming Americans began shouting at border staff.

A UK Border Agency source told the Sunday Times: ‘I have never before had so many complaints from passengers in one shift or faced such a hostile immigration control environment.’

Home secretary Theresa May is also underfire for reducing the manpower at borders.

She plans to cut the number of officers from…..

Read the full story from The Daily Mail…..


By Christopher Leake and Ian Garland
PUBLISHED: 29 April 2012



[FT] Damian Green, the immigration minister, has been summoned to explain a crisis  at border control to MPs after a spate of lengthy queues and increased waiting  times spread to Heathrow’s flagship terminal.

BAA “Immigration waiting times during peak periods at Heathrow recently have been unacceptable and we have called on the Home Office to address the problem as a matter of urgency.”

BAA “Immigration waiting times during peak periods at Heathrow recently have been unacceptable and we have called on the Home Office to address the problem as a matter of urgency.”

Keith Vaz, chairman of the home affairs select committee, told the Financial  Times that he had asked Mr Green to appear before the panel of MPs as reports of “chaos” at British airports gathered pace.

The delays are thought to have been caused by staffing cuts at the UK Border  Agency – which kicked in at the beginning of the new financial year – combined  with a Home Office ban on lighter passenger checks after a furore last summer in  which some border  officials relaxed security controls without ministerial permission.

“This is a very, very difficult state of affairs and it needs to be sorted  out quickly,” Mr Vaz said. “Either the [UK Border Force] needs to bring back  risk-based checks or it needs to hire more staff.”

The force is due to lose just under 20 per cent of its personnel by 2015 as  part of the government’s austerity drive.

Mr Green is scheduled to join officials from British Airways, Virgin Atlantic  and the British Airports Authority at a committee hearing in mid-May, where he  will be quizzed on what measures are in place to cut the……

Read the full article at Investors Chronicle….


By Helen Warrell,
Andrew Parker and George Parker
FT.com – 27th April 2012



[Telegraph Travel] Passengers returning to Heathrow faced delays of more than two hours last   night as the Border Force struggled once again to struggled to cope.

Image taken by passenger Christian Parkinson last night as passengers queued for passport control at Heathrow Terminal 5

Image taken by passenger Christian Parkinson last night as passengers queued for passport control at Heathrow Terminal 5

This was the second night in succession that the airport descended into chaos because of a shortage of immigration staff.

Worst hit was Terminal 5, the £4.3 billion showcase and base for British Airways, but severe delays were also reported elsewhere at Heathrow.

Airport and airlines were forced to order taxis to help travellers get home because many were unable to clear immigration before public transport shut  down for night.

The difficulties faced by passengers, some of whom described the chaos as “omni-megashambles”,   were compounded by the failure of some of the automatic gates.

Passengers from the UK and the European Economic Area had to spend at least an hour queuing, nearly three times the target set by the UK Border Agency.

Those from other countries, including the United States, were forced to wait more than two hours.

Among the thousands of arriving travellers were Jamie Murray, the tennis star and brother of British No 1 Andy, and Alastair Campbell, the former Downing Street communications director.

One passenger, who declined to be named, waited more than an hour to get through passport control at Heathrow T5 after returning from Paris on business.

He said the line for “non EU citizens” was even longer as hundreds of frustrated passengers waited to enter the country just after 11pm.

“I was so angry,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

“It is terrifying, when you think about the Olympics and the crowds, this was just a regular Thursday night with a bit of rain.

“They were clearly expecting this as they had set up all these extra barriers up and down the corridor. They knew this was……

Read the full story at The Telegrapgh…..

 


By David Millward and Andrew Hough
27 Apr 2012



[Evening Standard] David Cameron was today told by the country’s top airline boss to “sort out” the chaos at Britain’s borders or face losing billions of pounds in business and tourism revenues.

Walsh: Sort out Heathrow queues or lose business and tourists

Walsh: Sort out Heathrow queues or lose business and tourists

Willie Walsh, head of the Inter-national Airlines Group, which owns British Airways, Iberia and Bmi, said delays at Britain’s major airports had worsened significantly because of cuts and poor management and had now reached “unacceptable” levels.

He said business chiefs were shunning Britain as a result and that it was pointless for the Prime Minister to travel round the world proclaiming that Britain was “open for business” when visitors were treated badly on arrival.

Mr Walsh’s attack came as passengers reaching Heathrow complained of being treated like a “bunch of slaves” after waiting up to three hours with passport control desks unmanned.

Some complained of spending longer in immigration queues than on their flights and of being left without food, water or adequate assistance. Others said they were “never coming back” because of the “nightmare” delays.

The problems add to mounting anger about queues that left thousands of travellers, including Formula One teams and TV historian Mary Beard, suffering delays at Heathrow this week. Immigration unions have fuelled the concerns by claiming waits of up to five hours are happening daily at airports and passengers are being “kettled” to cope with the queues.

In an interview with the Evening Standard, Mr Walsh said the problems were inflicting economic damage on the…..

Read the full interview at The Evening Standard…..


Martin Bentham
26 April 2012



[Evening Standard]  Furious Gatwick passengers today told how they were caught up in two- hour queues to get through passport control this week.

Welcome to Britain: regular flyers said Tuesday night’s queues were the worst they could remember

Welcome to Britain: regular flyers said Tuesday night’s queues were the worst they could remember

Travellers arriving back in Britain said the delays were so bad the queues snaked out of the main immigration hall back towards the stands where they had disembarked.

The backlog happened on Tuesday evening when passengers said only  three Border Agency staff were on duty to check UK and EU passports in Gatwick’s North terminal.

Online publishing director Robert Gray, returning from a holiday in the French Alps, said: “It was all pretty desperate. There were European families in Britain for the first time with their children in tears.

“The man next to me said he was going to emigrate he couldn’t bear it any longer.”

Consultant Bryan Kennedy, 54, who travels regularly on business, said he had never seen queues as bad at Gatwick. Mr Kennedy, who was returning from Barcelona, said: “I arrived at 8.30pm and some people had already been there for hours before me. The guy standing next to me said the driver sent to pick him up had been waiting for 90 minutes.”

He added: “It’s only going to get worse at the Olympics. A lot of people will be visiting London for the first time — what a welcome to Britain. Gatwick does very well getting people out; it’s getting people back in again that’s the problem”……#

Read the full story in tonight’s Evening Standard….


Jonathan Prynn, Consumer Business Editor 
Evening Standard – 19th April 2012



Holidaymakers face months of prolonged delays getting back into the country because of a shortage of immigration officers and tighter checks, it has emerged.

Passengers face threat of long immigraion delays

Passengers face threat of long immigraion delays Photo: ALAMY

Already it is not uncommon for EU passengers to spend more than an hour to clear checkpoints staffed by the UK Border Agency. Their plight is likely to get worse as the summer unfolds, with the Immigration Service Union predicting that delays could reach three to four hours at busiest times, especially for those not carrying EU passports.

Earlier this month The Daily Telegraph disclosed that airports and airlines have warned the UK Border Agency of chaos because of staff shortages. According to the Immigration Service Union the chaos could begin over the summer, partly because the Agency’s fixed rostering system takes no account of passenger flows.

In addition the Home Office is planning to cut the size of the workforce at a time when stricter controls are being used.

The time taken to process passengers has already been lengthened by the introduction of scanning machines by the last Government which has added about 10 seconds to the time needed to screen every arrival

Read the full strory at Telegraph Travel….


By , Transport Editor
5:46PM BST 08 Apr 2012



Britain’s airports will be reduced to ‘gridlock’ this Easter because there are   not enough staff to carry out checks on passports, airlines have warned the   Home Secretary.

Airlines are warning of gridlock at Heathrow this weekend because of a shortage of border guards

Airlines are warning of gridlock at Heathrow this weekend because of a shortage of border guards Photo: Getty Images

Theresa May has been told by 11 airlines, including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, that the UK Border Agency does not have the resources to check the passports of everyone coming into Britain.

A separate memo sent by Virgin Atlantic to the home affairs select committee warns that long queues at passport control could leave passengers stranded on planes and put the operation of “entire airports at risk”.

Easter weekend is one of the busiest times of the year for the airports with more than 1.5 million holidaymakers expected to travel overseas. More than 370,000 passengers will leave Heathrow between Good Friday and Easter Monday while Gatwick will handle 200,000.

The Virgin Atlantic memo says: “If arriving passengers are unable to proceed efficiently through the UK border then the entire airport operation will be at risk. Passengers arriving late from passport control to collect their luggage will cause congestion in the baggage hall, delaying delivery of luggage from later flights.

“If there is no space in the immigration hall for any more arrivals then airlines will be forced to keep passengers aboard the aircraft, thus jeopardising the operation of subsequent flights.

Read the memo to Theresa May in full…….

The airlines are urging the Government to employ more border control staff or relax tough restrictions on immigration checks introduced after a scandal at the UK Border Agency last November. Brodie Clark, the head of the agency, resigned after Mrs May said he had relaxed checks without her permission. He was later given £100,000 compensation by the Home Office, with neither side admitting fault.

Full Telegraph Travel story here…..


By , Senior Political Correspondent
03 Apr 2012



Britain’s airports will be reduced to ‘gridlock’ this Easter because there are   not enough staff to carry out checks on passports, airlines have warned the   Home Secretary.

Airlines are warning of gridlock at Heathrow this weekend because of a shortage of border guards

Airlines are warning of gridlock at Heathrow this weekend because of a shortage of border guards Photo: Getty Images

Theresa May has been told by 11 airlines, including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, that the UK Border Agency does not have the resources to check the passports of everyone coming into Britain.

A separate memo sent by Virgin Atlantic to the home affairs select committee warns that long queues at passport control could leave passengers stranded on planes and put the operation of “entire airports at risk”.

Easter weekend is one of the busiest times of the year for the airports with more than 1.5 million holidaymakers expected to travel overseas. More than 370,000 passengers will leave Heathrow between Good Friday and Easter Monday while Gatwick will handle 200,000.

The Virgin Atlantic memo says: “If arriving passengers are unable to proceed efficiently through the UK border then the entire airport operation will be at risk. Passengers arriving late from passport control to collect their luggage will cause congestion in the baggage hall, delaying delivery of luggage from later flights.

“If there is no space in the immigration hall for any more arrivals then airlines will be forced to keep passengers aboard the aircraft, thus jeopardising the operation of subsequent flights.

Read the memo to Theresa May in full…….

The airlines are urging the Government to employ more border control staff or relax tough restrictions on immigration checks introduced after a scandal at the UK Border Agency last November. Brodie Clark, the head of the agency, resigned after Mrs May said he had relaxed checks without her permission. He was later given £100,000 compensation by the Home Office, with neither side admitting fault.

Full Telegraph Travel story here…..

 


By , Senior Political Correspondent
03 Apr 2012