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 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
Victoria Justice on naked photo leak: 'Let me nip this in the bud right now'
4Chan 'nude photo hacker' claims there are hundreds more celebrity images to be published
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: 'These are completely fake' say singer's representatives
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Teacher of Religious Education ...
£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are currently...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...