E-Borders Programme yet to benefit Immigration Control

The government’s e-Borders Programme still has a long way to go to deliver many of its anticipated benefits to immigration control, John Vine, the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has said in a new report.

The Home Office launched the programme ten years ago with an aim of delivering a modern and efficient model of immigration control.

The so-called e-Borders programme, involved the collection of Advance Passenger Information (API) for all scheduled inbound and outbound passengers, in advance of travel.

It was meant to ‘export the border,’ preventing passengers from travelling where they were considered a threat to the UK, while at the same time delivering a more efficient model of immigration control.

“Despite being in development for over a decade, and costing over half a billion pounds, the e-borders programme has yet to deliver many of the anticipated benefits originally set out in 2007,” Mr. Vine said. “It is no longer an aim of the programme to facilitate risk based controls, which would have seen the levels of immigration checks on arrival tailored to the perceived risk posed by passengers, nor has it delivered a system to count all foreign national passengers in and out of the UK.”

Mr. Vine said he was surprised to find out that the use of e-Borders information to “export the border,” by preventing the arrival of a passenger because they had either been deported or excluded from the UK previously, was not happening.

“The Home Office should now define clearly what the aims of the e-borders programme are ahead of the new procurement exercise, and be transparent about what e-borders will deliver and by when,” Mr. Vine said.

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