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Introduction of UK Border Exit Checks

Effective 8 April 2015, exit checks will take place at all UK airports and ports, with information contained in passports and travel documentation being gathered from those leaving the country, whether by air, sea or rail.

The government believe that information collected allow them to establish if those entering the UK, leave when they are supposed to, which in turn will improve their ability to identify and thereafter examine immigration visas which are being abused.

Another advantage of the exit checks is that they will enable the police to better track known or suspected criminals and terrorists.

While there are concerns that the new border checks would cause travel chaos, the Home Office worked with the relevant authorities and organisations to ease the transition.

Commenting, UK Minister for Security and Immigration, James Brokenshire stated:

“It is right that we have an immigration system that is fair, that tackles illegal immigration and that clamps down on those who try to cheat the system by staying here when they have no right to do so.

“Exit checks will provide us with vital information that confirms a person’s exit from the UK. The coalition Government committed to reintroducing them in 2010 and the Immigration Act 2014 put in place legislation, which gave carrier and port staff the powers to carry out these checks.

“Port and travel operators are experts in their business and know their
customers best, which is why we’ve supported them to design and trial the systems for collecting data in a way that will minimise the impact on customers.

“It is vital for the country’s economy that our ports operate smoothly and that families can get away on holiday on time, and important for our security that we continue to strengthen our borders. After two years spent working closely with the ports we will stay focused on successfully introducing these checks together.

“The UK already has one of the most comprehensive systems in the world for recording who travels across our borders: delivering on our commitment to reintroduce exit checks will make us more secure and better informed than ever.

A Eurotunnel Le Shuttle spokesperson said:

“We are ready for exit checks. Eurotunnel has expended considerable time and effort to prepare for the Government’s introduction of exit checks at all ports and airports from 8 April 2015.

“We have been working hard to ensure that the checks will not affect our customers’ journeys. Customers need not change their travel plans as a result of exit checks, and should turn up as usual for their booked departure.

The Port of Dover spokesperson also commented, stating:

“To accommodate Exit Checks and minimise disruption to the town and the Port of Dover, we will continue to seek the support of the relevant agencies with which we work closely in order to help us deliver their national security objectives.

Finally, MyFerryLink commented, by stating:

“MyFerryLink has been working hard on developing systems that will provide the Exit Checks data requirements for Government at the same time as ensuring the long standing positive customer experience of ferry travel is maintained and we are confident we will achieve that for 8 April and beyond.

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