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Immigration Controls: Airports

Question for Home Office

UIN 21905, tabled on 24 June 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will take steps to increase the number of Border Force staff at airports, to tackle queues at immigration and customs checks.

Answered on

2 July 2021

Protecting public health is our priority and as we reopen international travel safely we will maintain 100% health checks at the border to protect the wider public as well as our vaccine rollout. However, with additional checks to keep the country safe, some delays are to be expected.

Following two rounds of recruitment the Border Force has increased its workforce to an operational team of just over 9,000 staff, with a large proportion of those staff deployed in Border Force Operations.

In addition to permanent FTE, Border Force has established a dedicated internal operation to ensure additional contingency resources are available to deploy to the primary control point to process entry requirements. This is aiming to bring in over 800 staff. These are made up of full-time surge resources, but also part time seasonal, and agency staff.

In addition, we are updating our e-gates to meet the new biosecurity check requirements as well as simplifying the Passenger Locator Form to expedite the process as much as possible.

Resource and staffing requirements at every port are continually reviewed by Border Force who work closely with airport operators to ensure resources are deployed flexibly as and when they are required, however, increased passenger flow will add to wait times due to our enhanced checks, and those travelling should be aware of this and plan for it.

Answered by

Home Office