E-gate users into the UK
hits one million
16 August 2019
One million additional visitors have used the digital border process at airports to enter the UK since May.
While UK and EU nationals have been able to use the automated ePassport gates since 2008, the scheme was recently expanded to allow nationals from seven countries – Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States – to use the eGates as well.
The eGates use facial recognition technology and only work if the individual has a valid visa and a biometric or chipped passport. Children between 12 and 17, accompanied by an adult and with a suitable passport, may also use them.
In July, Sajid Javid, then-Home Secretary, said:
‘Tourism and business are key drivers for our economy and we want passengers to enter the UK quickly and securely.
‘Our world-leading border system sends a clear message that we are open for business.’
However, digital gates, unlike a wet ink stamp, do not indicate the passenger’s date of entry. If you sponsor a migrant worker under Tier 2 or Tier 5, in order to remain compliant with immigration rules you must still check the date of entry by asking to see other evidence, such as travel tickets or a boarding pass. You must also retain a copy of these documents.
The automated eGates may also cause an issue with visitors to the UK (who are not eligible to work). They will not have a visual reminder of when their six-month period is up. The first visitors who entered the UK via the eGates will need to leave by 20 November in order to prevent the risk of illegally overstaying.