Immigration Controls

Home Department written question – answered on 22nd October 2008.

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Photo of Damian Green Damian Green Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will publish the target times for passengers to be processed through immigration controls at (a) Heathrow, (b) Gatwick and (c) Stansted airports.

Photo of Phil Woolas Phil Woolas Minister of State (Borders and Immigration);), Home Office, Minister of State (Borders and Immigration);), HM Treasury

We recognise that we have a responsibility to process genuine passengers without delay but the safety and security of the public is our priority.

The introduction of Service Level Agreements (SLA) is key to our commitment to improve the passenger arrival experience. SLAs will include standards on key metrics, such as queuing benchmarks. The agreements will be published and reviewed annually.

As part of the SLA negotiation process, we are working closely with airport and airline operators to reach agreement on the most effective way to measure queues at operational locations. There are currently arrangements in place at selected ports to benchmark performance. The three ports referred to in your question are using a 45 minute (non-EEA) and 25 minute (EEA) queuing time as such a benchmark. This is the maximum wait time in which we aim to process passengers and in turn informs staff deployment, as well as informing considerations on further investment. We are clear that the averages are well within these benchmarks but will continue to work on reducing the occasions where those figures are exceeded.

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