Digital border transformation: UK Home Office consults on withdrawal of landing cards
The Home Office have introduced a consultation running from 5 August until 2 September 2017 looking for comments on their proposal to withdraw paper landing cards and replace them with a digital data capture system, which is intended to be implemented on 1 October 2017.
According to the Home Office’s Analysis and Insight Department, they are investing in transforming the UK’s borders, with the aim of increasing their ability to facilitate legitimate travel, deter and prevent individuals from entering the UK who would harm the national interest, and provide demonstrable effectiveness, efficiency and value for money.
The withdrawal of paper landing cards and transformation to digital systems means that the Home Office will be looking to increase their use of Advanced Passenger Information and data from other government systems to verify the identity, confirm the status and better target potential risk to UK borders, and also to deliver a more user friendly experience for legitimate travellers.
According to the Home Office, there are limitations of using landing card data, as the current system dictates that the data is manually inputted by both the passenger and then the Border Force Officer. The introduction of digital systems will mean that the data will be collected more efficiently, and with fewer errors, and the Home Office may then be able to share this more effectively with other government bodies.
From 1 October 2017, the Home Office therefore propose to end the requirement for non-EEA passengers to present a paper landing card on arrival into the UK. Instead Border Force will be using digitally collected data provided ahead of the passenger’s arrival at the border to provide the information about passengers. The benefit of this is that landing cards will no longer have to be purchased and distributed by carriers, there will be no onus on the passenger to complete the card and administrative costs will be reduced. Overall, the costs benefits of reducing Border Force Officers’ time appears to be in the region of £2.8million per annum.
Border Force is expecting that with this ‘digital transformation’, security will be significantly enhanced, however with the ever present threat of cyber-attacks and hacking, the Home Office will need to ensure that the new digital data is stored securely.
Overall, the aim of this new ‘digital transformation’ will be to streamline the way that data at the border is collected, processed and shared, and to enable the Border Force to better direct its resources to the highest impact areas.
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