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Comments

Adrian Owens

My wife is a US passport holder and it really doesn't cause any big issues when we travel abroad.

I really can't get excited about this proposal. The final words sum up what small beer this is:

...this in effect simply moves a subset of foreign nationals into a different queue at immigration so they can be dealt with more quickly.

If this is the sort of policy that our radical, far-ranging manifesto at the next election is to be filled with, then prepare for more years of opposition.


aristeides

"...this in effect simply moves a subset of foreign nationals into a different queue at immigration so they can be dealt with more quickly."

More quickly = less carefully. Now is not the time to be introducing laxer immigration procedures.

Hulkamania

Generally a good idea. My wife has a Romanian passport and it's a pain in the neck having to wait in the longer queue when we come back from holiday, plus she always gets the third degree when travelling alone. However, I have to echo the comments that it's hardly a radical reform or one that's likely to excite anyone other than those who it directly has an effect on.

Perhaps this should instead be part of a wider reform of immigration procedures which makes things easier for genuine applicants and those with family ties and more difficult for those we want to weed out.

Mark Wadsworth

YES, although it is hardly election-winning stuff.

Like A Owens, my wife used to have a foreign passport and ILTR. I agree that going abroad wasn't a problem, it was coming back in that was totally undignified.

There were plenty of others in the queue worthy of far greater scrutiny than my wife and I.

Thomas Bridge

I agree it's "hardly election-winning stuff". I do think it has two benefits though:

1. It makes the party more attractive to the foreign nationals (such as Commonwealth citizens) who are entitled to vote.

2. It shows that we're not "anti foreigner" when we call for tighter immigration controls, and I don't think anyone would dispute we need tighter controls.

I would also point out that this was inspired by the very special ring of hell that is Terminal Three at Heathrow when eight flights from Asia had arrived within 90 minutes of each other.

RodS

Now is not the time to relax entry controls (such as they are)but this really is a side issue. The bottom line is sheer numbers and the mindless population growth we are coping with. In what other area of strategic Planning ( or mathamatics) would you exclude from the equation a limited resource factor i.e. land area ?

aristeides

This is a perfectly valid proposition and Thomas is certainly right that people could certainly feel strong enough about the issue to vote one way or another on it. However, our airports are an abyss of torpor, jobsworthiness and nonsensical practices, whether you are trying to come or go, at security, immigration, customs or baggage collection, and that is the issue that needs to be addressed, rather than elevating some foreign passport holders over others.

Thomas has also highlighted the absurdly anomolous rules regarding elections which allow Commonwealth citizens to vote. Can I vote in Mozambique if I live there? This is a definite case for modernisation.

Gildas

More quickly = less carefully. Now is not the time to be introducing laxer immigration procedures.

Someone who has been granted indefinite leave to remain has gone through vast reams of paperwork with the Home Office (and usually the FO too when they first apply to come). If they haven't been noticed as dodgy by then, then the immigration officer at Heathrow is not going to notice either.

Declaration of interest - my wife has Indefinite Leave To Remain and consequently I've witnessed exactly why this policy is sensible.

However, some information for those in the same boat, last time we came back in the Immigration Officer told us that so long as we travel together we can both be checked on the UK Nationals line because they have no right to make a family travelling together stand in different queues.

aristeides

"If they haven't been noticed as dodgy by then, then the immigration officer at Heathrow is not going to notice either."

The immigration officers are also there to weed out the fake passports and/or fake Indefinite Leave To Remain. This will not be done as rigorously in the "wave-through" EU channel and that is my concern.

I am pleased that they let you and your wife through together but, again, I would have concerns that this could be exploited if implemented as a system. Immigration checks are, by their very nature, inconvenient to the law-abiding. The speed and efficiency could and should be improved but I do not think that this is a good way to do it. Cheats will always exploit weaknesses in the system.

Denis Cooper

The current system doesn't make sense, but nor does this proposed change.

As I understand your thinking, some arrivals are already well known to the British authorities as individuals, and so they could be cleared more quickly. But in the same fast channel will be other individuals of whom the British authorities know nothing, beyond the fact that they are carrying a passport supposedly issued by another EU member state. Meanwhile in the slow channel there'll be individuals carrying passports issued by governments of countries who share the Queen as Head of State, and whose fathers fought for this country not against it. Correct?

Mike Christie

I have misgivings about this, firstly from the point of view that border security needs to be beefed up rather than relaxed. Secondly, it is, as others have pointed out, hardly the sort of thing to reverse the disenchantment with politics of 60% of the population.

I'm sorry but tinkering with which queue people stand in at passport control, on its own, is up there with the cones hotline for me. With all the immigration and security issues we have to face up to, suggesting this on its own just seems like re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

We need a complete re-evaluation of our border security and immigration rules and procedures. This may well be one idea that comes out of that, but on its own, I wouldn't call it a policy.

Patsy Sergeant

Hulkamania @ 9.53 - Perhaps this should instead be part of a wider reform of immigration procedures which makes things easier for genuine applicants and those with family ties and more difficult for those we want to weed out.'

That sounds very reasonable, but how does an immigration officer decide that someone is a 'genuine applicant' etc: or indeed who are the ones that need to be 'weeded out', they find it almost impossible apparently at the moment, how is that likely to change??? And when people have to wait longer in order for the necessary procedures to be followed, won't some people still be making a fuss?

In general I agree with most of the other posts on this idea.

Londoner

As others have implied, a rather trivial proposal that does not enthuse one to vote either way.

Actually, if there is to be a change, I'd rather put the rest of the EU people in the Foreign queue. It comes to something when others can enter ones own country as conveniently as a loyal subject.

And whilst we are about it, how about bringing back the old-style covers for British Passports (with the names visible on the front for those of us with large families so you know whose is whose)? (I accept there is convenience in having a common format inside to be computer readable etc, but that is no reason why all EU countries shouldn't be allowed to have their own distinctive covers.)

Having now got going, why does the Ryder Cup use the EU flag when it is a European team not an EU one (Spaniards played before they joined the EU and the Swiss would be eligible now)? Mind you, if the EU were 50% UK (+ 17% southern Irish), like the Ryder Cup team, I wouldn't be so bothered.

Finally, why is there a British and not a UK team in the Olympics? I've never understood why the Northern Irish stand for their part of the kingdom being excluded from the team name.

Rant over. But if anyone else is rather bored by the original proposal, they can debate mine instead...

Gildas

The immigration officers are also there to weed out the fake passports and/or fake Indefinite Leave To Remain. This will not be done as rigorously in the "wave-through" EU channel and that is my concern.

My understanding was that under this proposal there would be a separate leave to remain queue, so there would be an EU, LTR and non-EU queues. That way the people manning LTR would be better placed to recognise a fake stamp.

aristeides

I quote from the proposal... "Under this policy, foreign nationals who have been granted indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom would be allowed to clear immigration through the British and EU nationals queue."

michael mcgough

There should be a fast track for UK Nationals but we'd have to leave the EU first I suppose.

Denis Cooper

Londoner, the Ryder Cup has been discussed here:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/foreign/davidrennie/sept06/rydereuro.htm

and a quick read of that will make all clear, including the possibility that Vladivostok could be chosen as a venue for the competition.

David Banks

Londoner
your so right about NI being excluded from Olympic name. I've been banging on about this for ages!
I can feel a 100 policies idea coming on, reintegrate NI into Olympic / international sporting events through having UK not GB teams.

Londoner

Denis Cooper: thanks for the link. I had forgotten that the EU stole their flag from the Council of Europe in the first place. Very careless of the Council of Europe to have let them. A special European Ryder Cup flag needs to be designed post haste.

David Banks: I wrote about "Team Brit" at the time of the last Olympics to Kate Hoey MP, loyalist Ulsterwoman and sporting fanatic no less, and she seemed completely to miss the point - maybe because she had lost my original letter by the time she wanted to forward to me an hilariously off-point response from the British Olympic Assn! You should try writing to her also. Put a P.S. reminding her to get on and join the Conservative Party before all the "A" list seats have gone - we'd even forgive her the Olympics if she did that.

Londoner

Sorry "Team GB" not "Team Brit" - it was such a ghastly name that I must have erased it from my consciousness for a moment.

David Banks

Your quite forgiven, Team GB is such an awful clunker. also there are some rather good up and coming Northern Irish boxers , i can't for the life of me think why they should be excluded / have their area of the UK denigrated in this matter.

As far as the policy proposal above re LTR's goes, fine by me lets adopt it. it won't set the world on fire , good legislation never does.


C'mon the UK!

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