Immigration Controls: London Airports

Home Office written question – answered on 3rd July 2018.

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Photo of The Duke of Somerset The Duke of Somerset Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reasons for some of the automated e-passport gates at London's airports not being available to incoming passengers.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department, Minister for Equalities (Department for International Development)

ePassport gates are open to UK/EU/EEA and Swiss nationals, aged 12 and over as well as adult members of the Registered Traveller Service (RTS). ePassport gates are used by over 70% of those passengers eligible to use them.

The ePassport Gates at London Airports operate flexibly dependant on demand, operating in banks of 5 and 10. Egate operation requires Border Force Staff deployed into monitoring roles such as behavioural detection to enhance security at the border and provide safeguarding assurances. The number open can be flexed dependent on passenger flow, if there is a large number of arriving passengers that are not eligible to use the e-Gates, a bank of e-gates could be closed, and those officers deployed to the main Passport Control Point to check non-eligible passengers.

If the eGates were to be open even when no eligible passengers were arriving, this could worsen the passenger experience of those not eligible to use e-Gates as a result of Officers engaged in monitoring roles, when they could be better deployed processing passengers on the main Passport Control Point where Officers can use various techniques

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