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London Heathrow’s immigration desks will be manned during Olympics for easy access for low-risk visitors | Immigration Matters

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Low-risk tourists from trusted countries will be directed to fast-track lanes in a bid to cut queues

Earlier pilot scheme was unsuccessful as visitors and UK tourists struggled to identify which queue they ought to be in.

Fast-track lanes for Americans and visitors from some of the biggest countries in the Commonwealth will be set up at Heathrow Airport after the Olympics, Damian Green said.

The Border Force will pilot a scheme where low-risk tourists from trusted countries will be directed to fast-track lanes in a bid to cut queues, the Immigration Minister said.

If successful, the Government could even ask the countries involved to set up reciprocal arrangements to make it easier for Britons travelling abroad, Mr Green told MPs.

An earlier pilot scheme was unsuccessful as visitors struggled to identify which queue they ought to be in, Mr Green told MPs.

But a new scheme will start after the Olympics for visitors from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Japan, he said.

‘We did a very short pilot for Australians and Americans, Japanese, New Zealanders and Canadians,’ Mr Green told the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee.

But he said the pilot was ‘causing more problems than it solved’ because of how the terminal was configured.

‘The idea of differentiating people so that those who don’t need visas – and therefore already we feel more confident about them than those who we do require visas from – to have them in separate lanes in the airport is something worthy of looking at.

He went on: ‘Let’s solve the problems we have here then see if that can give us some advantages for British citizens around the world.

‘The first gain will be for everyone. 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.’

It comes as the troubled UK Border Agency reveals it 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.

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