Robust arrangements are in place to maintain the security of the border ahead of planned strike action on Wednesday 30 November 2011. Over recent weeks and months we have undertaken significant work, including:
training managers, staff and contractors to the high standards needed to carry out secure border checks;
asking staff from overseas posts to provide additional cover on the day; and
working with travel partners such as airlines and port operators to identify potential pressure points.
Preparations are focused on ensuring that every option has been considered, so that a pool of suitably trained staff is available to operate the border securely.
Staffing on the day will be structured to allow maximum flexibility to meet the aim of maintaining a full range of checks.
UK Border Agency chief executive Rob Whiteman said:
‘Securing the border is our priority, and over the last weeks and months we have considered all options to ensure we are prepared for union action.
‘We always aim to minimise any disruption caused by the decision of unions to strike, but travellers could see longer waiting times at some ports and airports.’
Advice for customers
The 4 Home Office unions are participating in a strike which will affect border control from the beginning of the evening of Tuesday 29 November until 23:59 on Wednesday 30 November. Starting times will vary as each port has different shift patterns.
We will aim to keep disruption at a minimum, but our priority remains the security of the border and we could see longer waiting times at some ports and airports. We have put contingency plans in place and will work hard to keep delays to a minimum.
You may wish to check with your carrier if you are travelling on Wednesday 30 November.
Passengers arriving in the UK can assist us by:
having travel documents, including passports, available and taken out of any wallets;
using automatic e-passport gates (where available);
having landing cards fully completed and ready; and
staying in family groups.
Visa application services overseas might be affected by the strikes in the UK.
Appointments at our public enquiry offices in the UK might also be affected, and we might not be able to process premium applications on the same day. Our Liverpool, Solihull and Belfast offices will be closed for appointments.
Our other services in the UK, including enforcement, will be as close as possible to business as usual.
We would like to thank customers for their patience as we work to maintain the security of the UK’s border.