The UK government has confirmed that as of June 2019, millions of passengers from Canada, Australia and New Zealand will be eligible to use the new e-Passport gates at British airports in an effort to promote closer cooperation between the CANZUK countries.
Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the plans to make it easier for citizens from Canada, Australia and New Zealand to come to the United Kingdom, either to visit or work, in preparation for country’s upcoming departure from the European Union.
The e-Passport gates allow passengers to pass through security quickly without needing to interact with human border agents. They rely on facial recognition, which is checked against the passenger’s scanned passport.
At present, the e-Passport gates are only available to UK, EU, EEA or Swiss holders of ‘chipped’ biometric passports only, meaning visitors from other nations face long queues.
However, the plans confirmed for this summer have been designed to encourage closer cooperation and encourage a more out looking, global Britain outside of the EU.
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The Chancellor also announced that to coincide with the e-Passport gates expansion, the government will begin to abolish landing cards for non-EEA travellers in June, meaning citizens of Canada, Australia and New Zealand will be exempt from the landing card requirement.
The government also stated that its ambition “is to go further” with respect to immigration, with more details to be provided in due course.
UK Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said:
“The expanded access to e-Passport gates and the withdrawal of landing cards is part of our work to transform the UK’s border, providing a quicker, seamless experience for passengers that is built around digital systems. These changes will deliver an improved arrival experience and is further encouragement for people who boost our economy through tourism and business to travel to the UK”.
Sources close to the UK government have also confirmed that “special passport arrangements” are being discussed ahead of Brexit negotiations for citizens of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, implying that individuals in possession of such passports could benefit from special privileges, including greater access to visas and work permits.
CANZUK International is delighted with the UK government’s announcement, and will continue to encourage further cooperation between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom in the interests of freer movement, trade arrangements and diplomatic collaboration.
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