Immigration minister Damian Green has had it rough recently, with the chaos at the UK Border at various ports of entry – and rightly so after not ensuring enough manpower was available to process the visitors into the United Kingdom.
As the UK ramps up its border inspections thanks to a lack policy and a will from the Government to do deeper inspections, delays into the UK have increased both for European Economic Area passengers, but more painfully for Non-EEA passengers who have been forced to wait for 2 hours – and beyond at the UK Border.
Damian Green states:
“some queue levels at London’s Heathrow and Stansted airports are ‘not acceptable'”
And in other news, the blindingly obvious needs to be explained to people….
Anyway, the UK Border Agency is putting 480 Border staff on duty during the Olympics from its national cadre.
Meanwhile an extra 70 staff are being recruited for now – this recruitment round for originally for the new Heathrow T2 project. The aim is to have the staff in place after the Olympics, and in-time for the rush of new students coming into the UK to study for the inbound 2012/2013 academic year.
Fears exist that when the 480 staff disperse back to their normal roles and bases, queues will once again build up to unacceptable levels.
To help around Heathrow, Damian Green has stated that 16 mobile teams of 10 people were now employed at Heathrow to ensure staffing at immigration checks could be better focused on need.
There has been also been argument over how to measure a queue, as the UK Border Agency only measures from the time waiting in the immigration hall – and not from the back of the queue where normally a queue ends.
Perhaps this is just another government re-definition so the statistics look good for someone.
Complaints from the airlines include the long waits – some of which have tailed back to the gates, whilst the vast amount of unmanned immigration desks seem to be another problem.
However, until queues die down to the sub 25 minutes for EEA passengers, and sub 45 minutes for Non-EEA passengers, expect the (justified) moans to continue – and for watchers like me to continue to write about it.
Meanwhile, if you’ve been stuck in a queue for over the stated periods, you might want to drop a letter/email to the following to express your dissatisfaction:
The Rt Hon. Damian Green
The Home Office
Direct Communications Unit
2 Marsham Street
You could also email your complaint to firstname.lastname@example.org or Telephone: 020 7035 4848 (09:00 to 17:00, Monday to Friday).
Because as much bluster that comes from the minster, the only way this will change is if people moan and moan loudly… and remind the Rt Hon. Damian Green that this is costing UK PLC Money… and lots of it.