Business fliers feel heavy hand at airports
James Cusick is political correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. As an experienced member of the lobby, he has previously worked at The Sunday Times and the BBC. His career as a journalist has been split between print and television, including senior positions as producer with Sir David Frost and at BBC Newsnight. He is also an award-winning golf and travel writer, working for over a decade as the UK contributing editor for one of the USA’s leading golf magazines. He broadcasts regularly for the BBC and CNN. He lives in London.
Monday 03 April 1995
Immigration officers have been accused of clamping down on non-European Union nationals which has led to business executives being detained at airports and at least one refused entry.
Incidents include a Swiss banker put on a plane back to Switzerland, US executives interviewed by officers at Heathrow and the chairman of a European bank held for two hours at Gatwick on Friday.
Leading City lawyers are worried about the impact the "heavy-handed" policy may have on the international business community. The checks are thought to be a response to the abolition of border controls within the rest of the EU.
Immigration lawyers , representing the cream of the City's international corporate businesses, say their immigration "troubleshooting" for leading clients has increased since the change in EU border controls.
Elsbeth Guild, a lawyer with Bailey's Shaw and Gillet, said: "I was asked to advise a company based on the continent which had sent one of its employees, who is not an EC national, to the UK to give a lecture. The person was refused permission to enter the UK as a visitor because the immigration officer decided that the lecture was work. He was sent back on the same plane."
Other leading firms, who asked not to be named, said a number of their corporate clients were "angry" at what appears to be happening at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stanstead airports. Several said City's international reputation could suffer.
One US executive arriving to work on a computer contract was recently refused entry at Heathrow. He had never been refused entry in more than a decade of travelling to Britain.
Julia Onslow-Cole of Cameron Markby Hewitt, said that on Friday the chairman of a European bank, a non-EC national, was detained at Heathrow by immigration for over two hours. He was not questioned but kept alone in a room. She said the chairman described the incident as "incredibly embarrassing". He had never experienced any problems in numerous other visits to Britain.
She said that some of her firm's leading clients had been "stopped" and that the action used by immigration officers had been "heavy-handed". But the Home Office said there was "no change in the practice or procedures" being followed by immigration officers.
According to current UK immigration rules, a visitor to the UK must not intend to provide services in the UK. However most lawyers acknowledge that any business visitor is going to be providing something which could be classified as a service. It is this strict adherence to the rules that is worrying the City.
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Germanwings plane crash: Video shows co-pilot Andreas Lubitz learning to fly as a teenager
- 3 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
Germanwings crash: Captain of doomed plane was only 'on board because he changed job to spend more time with his children'
Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
The male and female faces thought to be the epitome of beauty, according to British people
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Duty Manager is required to join one of the ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Team Leader is required to join one of the l...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Chef is required to join one of the largest ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is required to jo...