One line for the rich, another for the poor: minister's solution to border control crisis

Claims of discrimination over Green's plan for a two-tier system to end delays at Heathrow

Fast-track lanes for visitors from wealthy westernised countries are to be set up at Heathrow to reduce queues at Britain's biggest airport, the Immigration Minister said yesterday.

Damian Green's announcement of the two-tier border system for non-Europeans provoked accusations that the move discriminated against travellers from developing nations.

Separate passport desks for people from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan would be set up for new arrivals from countries whose citizens do not need a visa to visit Britain. The system will come into force at Heathrow, which has been plagued by delays in recent months, after the conclusion of the Olympic Games.

Mr Green told the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee that Britain could even ask the countries involved to set up reciprocal arrangements to fast-track UK travellers. "If it works, there will be a group of people who will have better experiences at Heathrow. That's beneficial in itself. If it has benefits for other British citizens as well, then absolutely we would be interested in pursuing that," Mr Green said.

But Habib Rahman, chief executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, said: "There is no evidence to suggest visitors from other countries are less trustworthy than visitors from these countries. This is a list of wealthy countries with links to the UK. It is based on wealth and trade links and it discriminates against people from the developing world."

Mr Green said from Sunday, all immigration desks will be opened and staffed at airports in the South-east at busiest times as visitors begin to arrive for the Olympics. He said numbers landing at Heathrow could rise to more than 100,000 a day during the Games, but promised enough staff to cope with the influx.

The minister acknowledged the situation at Heathrow had "not been perfect", but insisted it was improving. He said the maximum wait at Terminal 4 during a visit yesterday had been 28 minutes.

Keith Vaz, the select committee's chairman, said he encountered delays of more than one hour on Monday, with half of immigration desks unstaffed. Mr Green disputed his claims, saying 80 per cent of desks had been staffed during Monday's morning peak, with a maximum waiting time of 54 minutes for non-European passengers.

* The UK Border Agency is bringing in a private firm to track down a backlog of at least 150,000 missing migrants who have been refused permission to stay in the UK, Mr Green disclosed.

Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders