UK immigration queues 'approaching acceptable'

10 Jul 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The length of time people will be required to wait to get through Heathrow's UK immigration control during the Olympics is approaching an "acceptable" level.

According to the UK immigration minister Damian Green, people with UK work permits, visas and those on British passports should not have to wait for more than an hour. The minister attended Heathrow Terminal four this week (July 10th) and confirmed that the airport should reach its target of 45 minutes by the Olympics.

"Full Olympics mode" will be in operation at Heathrow from this Sunday, with an extra 500 staff on hand and all of the passport control desks manned during peak times. This is expected to avoid the chaos seen earlier this year when some people reported waiting as long as two hours to get through.

However, there is still some concern that those with UK work permits and visas coming from outside of the European Union will face lengthy waiting times. The Immigration Services Union stated that the extra relief staff that are being provided are not trained to deal with the full range of border force duties, such as non-EU arrivals.

Lucy Moreton, spokeswoman for the union, told the BBC that her concern lies with trouble makers. She noted that once something is started by one person it is "very difficult to stop" problems and delays from escalating.

The London Olympics are taking place between July 27th and August 12th.