New passport "Exit Checks" implemented at all UK ports
All passengers departing the UK through any international exit, by commercial rail, air or ship, will be subject to passport verification checks following legislation passed in 2014. This latest initiative, which came into force on 8 April 2015, has been introduced by the government to assist the Home Office in monitoring the number of illegal immigrants overstaying their UK visa limitations and will also shed light on the categories of visas that are most vulnerable to abuse.
According to the BBC, initially all passports will be scanned, of which around 25% are to undergo a more thorough scanning process to allow the government to improve data on exactly who has not returned to their country of origin. In the next few months the scanning will increase to 100% of passports checked, particularly at ferry and cross- channel tunnel points. Authorities warn that this may lead to travel delays and although proactive measures are being taken by increasing staff numbers and improved technology, travellers, especially those travelling by rail or ship, are being cautioned to expect lengthier waiting times.
The new data captured from the "Exit Checks" initiative, will not only serve as an immigration data tool but will also allow the government to monitor potential terrorist and criminal movements and to have a more accurate idea of exactly who is leaving the UK and by omission, who is staying. It is expected that the data will be used to inform Home Office policies to assist them in reducing the number of illegal immigrants in the UK.
For further information please see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/exit-checks-on-passengers-leaving-the-uk/exit-checks-fact-sheet.