UK visa checks could 'cause chaos at Dover'

17 Mar 2015 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Exit checks to better control UK visa numbers are due to come into force from early April, but there is concern that plans have not been put in place to avoid substantial queues.

Theresa May, home secretary, is currently said to be considering how to avoid queues of traffic up to five miles long at Dover when the checks are brought into force.

The 'five mile' estimation has come from ferry companies who have suggested that contingency plans need to be put in place to deal with the traffic on the busiest travel days.

The change in UK immigration process has caused some strife between ferry companies and the government with the former suggesting that the Home Office has attempted to shift the blame on to them for the forecast tailbacks, claiming that conducting the checks will be part of their business process.

Meanwhile, from the government's point of view, the main angle of approach has been to put contingency plans in place to cope with the extra processes. The date of the new checks was pushed back beyond the Easter bank holiday due to the high levels of travellers expected over the bank holiday period; and James Brokenshire, immigration minister, has advised travellers to “set out earlier to ensure they're at their port of departure on time” on busy days.

Every tourist and lorry driver leaving the country from April 8th onwards will be subject to the checks. The pledge to conduct the checks was part of Prime Minister David Cameron's initial promise when he came into power to check every passenger going into and out of the country in order to provide a more accurate picture of UK immigration.