Did temporary border staff make immigration blunders?
As thousands of athletes and team staff leave through special Olympic terminals at London’s Heathrow Airport today, most people will agree that border staff and Britain’s infrastructure coped well with the games.
Airports and London’s transport network, did not come to a standstill as many in the media predicted even with millions of UK tourists.
However, border staff have now made allegations that temporary workers brought in to help cope with an increase of visitors to the UK during the Olympic Games have been responsible for a number of potentially serious blunders, The Telegraph reports.
Around 500 extra staff were brought in to make sure that immigration formalities continued to run smoothly. But UK Border Agency workers said there had been a number of oversights including an Iranian man being allowed to pass through the immigration channel reserved for European Union citizens. A 12-year-old child was also reportedly allowed to cross into the UK without even the basic check that someone was there to meet them.
They did not say why, if these mistakes had been spotted, the staff did not step in to solve the issue.
Temporary staff also stand accused of allowing a number of people through who arrived from countries known for high rates of tuberculosis without having to undergo medical checks.
Temporary workers brought into relive immigration pressures had problems understanding the Home Office Warnings Index which flags up people with immigration histories which means they should be questioned more thoroughly. Allegedly, one temporary worker had to ask a colleague whether Ukraine was a member of the EU – it is not by the way.
A spokesman for the UK Border Force has however come out in defence of the temporary workers by saying that all had been fully trained and had helped to reduce the pressure at an extremely busy time.
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