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UK plans for a digital border by 2025

As part of a complex immigration reform that was brought about by Brexit, the British government focuses not only on visas, but also on new technologies that can be applied in this sphere. It plans to digitalise all the immigration procedures by 2025.

Home Secretary Priti Patel explained that digitalisation will make the fight against illegal immigration more efficient. At the same time, she underlined that the UK will never leave alone those in need.

Under the government plan, digitalisation will impact the following areas:

  • customs and border control;
  • immigrants who live in the UK;
  • tourists and other short-term visitors to the UK.

Digitalisation of the immigration system will become a part of consistent policy of the UK government aimed to turn the UK into a leader in the digital field.

The UK pursues its ambitious plans to become the European IT capital and attracts the best specialists from all over the world to achieve this. Qualified specialists, including foreign specialists, are valued in the United Kingdom. The UK government creates conditions for the development of start-ups and businesses that use modern digital solutions.

Digital border technologies

It is announced that a new digital border technology called Border Crossing BX will be introduced to create a modern and efficient border infrastructure.

At first, it will be used only for EU Settlement Scheme. This scheme was created for EU migrants who had been living in the UK before Brexit. The proposed digital instrument will allow to quickly determine the status of a migrant(Settled or Pre-settled) and find out whether they have the right to stay in the UK.

Later, the system is expected to extend to all types of visas, indefinite and other types of leaves. This will optimise cooperation between different departments and create a single data base that will contain information about all the foreign nationals crossing the UK borders.

Online immigration check

The British government also plans to abandon all physical information carriers. Instead of biometric cards and vignettes in passports, migrants will get access to a mobile app that will contain all their data.

This application will also say whether a migrantcan live, work, study, or do business in the UK. To start with, it will inform migrants of their own rights and restrictions that they must comply with. Besides, a migrantwill be able to prove their immigration status quickly. For example, to get a job or to rent a flat.

Electronic Travel Authorisation

Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) was launched for the countries with which the UK has a visa-free regime.

Though nationals of these countries can cross UK border without any problems, there might still be some persona non grata who would not be allowed to enter the country. Electronic Travel Authorisation will reflect this information in digital format.

The ETA system is expected to work automatically. All you will have to do is to scan your electronic permission at the gate. A border officer will only intervene if there is a problem. ETA will be fully launched by the end of 2024.

There is no information yet about digitalisation of visas for those countries that have no visa-free agreements with the UK. However, it is likely that new technologies will be introduced in this field as well. It will make the whole procedure quicker and more transparent.

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