Visitors from low-risk countries such as Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the United States and Japan will soon be funneled through a separate, presumably quicker passport line at Heathrow, British immigration minister Damian Green told a parliamentary committee this week, But not in time for the Olympics.
Visitors from such countries? Or visitors holding passports issued by such countries. My Canadian passport was issued in Geneva, as I live in Switzerland. Will anyone behind the desk understand (or even care) about the distinction?
While I appreciate the thought, I haven't paid a cent (centime, penny, pence) while visa holders have paid (I think) £75 for their piece of paper. Shouldn't they be given priority? They paid for it.
Sorry for being a Pedant, but I don't think there is anything called a Visa waiver scheme in the 'excited kingdom'.
The term comes from the Americans where all nationalities (save the Canadians) require visas to enter the 'excited states'. A large handful of Europeans and a smaller handful of Australasias have this requirement waived, under certain circumstances. i.e. coming as a tourist, knowing what moral turpitude is, promising not to be a member of a communist party.
For the UK there is a list of nationalities that require visas, everyone else does not require one.
I recall one of my first flights into Heathrow in the late '70s. Came in on Pan Am from Seattle (No BA flights then from YVR, AC less than daily) and was confronted with three queues; UK citizens, Commonwealth citizens and 'Others'. Since I had arrived from the US about half the pax went to the UK queue and nearly the other half went to the other queue. Only I went to the Commonwealth queue joining passengers off of Air India and PIA jumbos. Now that took over two hours too.
ExXB: surely the point is that your passport is Canadian, regardless of where it was issued. If place of issue was the criteria a person with, say, a Yemeni passport issued in the UK could go through the low-risk line, which is clearly nonsense.
Also, why should it matter whether you paid for a visa or not?
After paying a tidy sum for a UK visa, why shouldn't they be given priority
As someone who worked in various visa sections around the world I can assure you that the British Govt make a whacking loss on visa operations. I would argue that as a taxpayer I am entitled to have as many UKBA staff on duty to deal with UK nationals returning to the UK. If that means a visa national has to queue for longer, so be it. When I visit foreign countries I am not afforded better treatment at immigration control than those holding passports for the country I am entering.
Will anyone behind the desk understand (or even care)
Yes, immigration officers do have a brain (although sometimes a minority don't show it occasionally) and can tell the difference.
I would think "from" means nationals of these countries rather than passengers on flights which originate there.
This is well overdue, a middle aged Canadian couple are a far lower risk factor than an unemployed Nigerian single mother when it comes to overstaying.
Passengers would still have the same scrutiny but as most people in the low risk countries line could be waved through without detailed questioning or extensive checks, things would move a lot quicker. Average time spent in the arrival hall would fall. Immigration officers with the skills and experience to deal with the difficult cases could concentrate on the high risk countries line.
A Japanese business man wouldn't be stuck for an hour simply because his flight landed ten minutes after one from Pakistan.
I use the Minority Report - style iris scanner booth in T5. Works a treat - love walking past enormous queues
One of the reasons there are large queues is the number of IOs have been reduced by the govt who opined that iris scanners and other new technology would speed up processes and would reduce the need for a human interface. However as we all know you still need people to oversee the machines - pilots overseeing autopilots, even the dreaded self-checkouts at stores need someone to continually reset the machines. We need to increase the number of immigration officers not reduce them, so next time you are stuck in a line at UKBA, start googling the address of your MP and send him or her a photo of the queues, don't take it out on the poor sod who has sat there for five hours losing the will to live as his bosses count their bonuses for reducing their capital outlay.