February 24, 2012

The UK Home Office has advised that effective March 1, 2012, a new border control agency, the UK Border Force, will assume enforcement of all port of entry immigration inspections of all foreign nationals entering the UK.

What’s Changed?

On February 20, 2012, Britain’s Home Secretary, Theresa May, advised members of Parliament of the Home Office’s intention to split the UK Border Agency (UKBA) into two, distinct agencies for the purpose of separating immigration policy work from operational duties.

According to Ms. May, the Border Force is being created as a separate law enforcement body to manage the entry of all foreign nationals.  Therefore, all border control and port of entry inspection (e.g., passport and visa checks, secondary inspection interviews, detention) will come under the newly-created UK Border Force.

The UKBA will continue to retain its casework function of adjudicating all work and residence permit applications.

Both the UKBA and the UK Border Force will have their own operational commands and reporting structures and will work independent of each other.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS

The splitting of the UKBA into two, separate entities comes as the result of an ongoing internal investigation conducted by the Chief Inspector of the UKBA regarding alleged, serious breaches in passport control checks and relaxed inspection of foreign nationals entering the UK.

At present, there are no indications that the creation of the UK Border Force will have any compliance impacts on UK companies sponsoring foreign workers. However, companies should be mindful that employees entering the UK should have the appropriate travel documentation and entry clearances (if required) to avoid uncomfortable or inconvenient situations.

This news alert was provided in coordination with our UK KGNM–Sarah Buttler Associates.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader

This content is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or final guidance for any immigration matter. Readers are reminded that a country’s immigration laws and requirements may change with little to no advance public notice. Questions regarding specific immigration matters should be addressed to your Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist.