November 28, 2011

The United Kingdom’s Border Agency (UKBA) issued a press release confirming a November 30 strike by border personnel at all British ports of entry.  Fearing extremely long queues at major British airports, certain air carriers are cancelling flights and warning passengers of delays of up to 12 hours to clear immigration control.  In addition, the strike could possibly affect visa application processing times at British consular posts.

What’s Changed?

Throughout this past year, the UK Government has announced several austerity programs aimed at reducing the nation’s public debt.

In response to the government’s demands that all public sector workers accept longer work hours and personally contribute more to their pensions, four of the UK Home Office’s labor unions are scheduled to commence a walk-out beginning Tuesday evening, November 29 and ending by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, November 30.  Times for closures and delays will vary on Tuesday evening.

While the Home Office is training emergency replacement border agents and consular staff, consular processing times for entry and work visas and ability to clear immigration control in the UK could be significantly delayed this week.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS

All assignees and travelers scheduled to depart for the UK this week should contact their air carriers to confirm any flight cancellations or rescheduling of departure times.  For those travelers who must enter the UK for critical business needs, it is strongly recommended to check their air carrier’s directives on clearing British customs and immigration along with reviewing the UKBA’s posted guidance on how to make immigration control easier.  Travelers can review the guidance notes at the following:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/newsarticles/2011/november/51-30-november-strike

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.