UK hints at Brexit eGate changes

02/08/18

Senior UK officials have said European travellers can no longer use its eGates following the exit from Europe.

Sajid Javid, the home secretary, has acknowledged that EU citizens would lose the right to use ePassport gates because they would no longer have the right automatically to enter the country.

Downing Street further confirmed this week that said UK citizens will have dedicated passport queues at airports and other border crossings after a post-Brexit transition period, in an effort to demonstrate the benefits of leaving the EU.

According to the Financial Times, “an ally of the prime minister” said August 1 that “British-only” passport queues were to be expected when EU citizens lose the automatic right to enter the UK after the post-Brexit transition period ends in 2020.

“We will have left the EU and we won’t have free movement anymore,” the aide said.

Last week Heathrow’s chief executive last week US visitors should be able to use e-gates reserved for UK and EU passengers as immigration queues for non-European passengers reach ‘completely unacceptable levels’.

John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow’s chief executive, said queues were increasing and has called on the Home Office to do something to sort out the issue.

He told The Guardian: ‘There’s no reason we should treat a passenger from the US any differently from one from Lithuania. We have 60 e-gates at Heathrow and you’ll never see them all in use.

‘Sajid Javid [the home secretary] could tackle this at the stroke of a pen.’

To support his case Mr Holland-Kaye cited a recent queue of three hours for non-EU passengers at the airport’s terminal 4.

He also said Brexit could be a good opportunity to open up the e-gates and welcome other countries such as Australia to use them.

Earlier this week, an ID scheme was proposed by a think tank for after Brexit.

After Brexit, the group envisioned people would acquire a unique "EU Citizens Number" based on the document with photographic and biometric data which they used to register, that will secure them rights and access to public services, with layers of digital security woven into the system to protect their data.

 

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