Home Secretary Priti Patel defends new electronic border scheme

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<p>Home Secretary Priti Patel</p> (PA)

Home Secretary Priti Patel


Home Secretary Priti Patel has defended plans for a new electronic border scheme saying it will make the UK safer.

The scheme would mean visitors, without a visa or immigration status, have to apply for an electronic permit before coming to the UK.

Among those who would need the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) would be people arriving for short holidays or changing flights in the UK, while people staying for longer would still need a visa.

The Home Office said the new system would stop foreign criminals from coming into the country as they could be checked before being given an ETA and would make it easier to get accurate migration figures.

The Home Secretary is expected to explain more about the scheme on Monday.

Speaking ahead of that, she said: “Now we have taken back control and ended free movement, security is at the very heart of our immigration strategy.

“Our new approach will make it easier to identify potential threats before they reach the border.”

Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds accused the government of “utter incompetence”.

Speaking to Sky’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday he said: “If you look at 2014, 87% of asylum claims were being dealt with within six months, that figure had fallen to 20% by 2019, and what did the government do? They got rid of performance targets.”

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