HL Deb 24 September 2002 vol 638 cc212-3WA
Lord Marlesford

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will outline their policy on physical inspection of passports of all those arriving in the United Kingdom, indicating at which points of entry equipment for the electronic recording of machine readable passports is already in operation. [HL5461]

Lord Filkin

The published Immigration Rules, as approved by Parliament, require any person arriving in the United Kingom, or seeking entry through the Channel Tunnel, to produce a valid passport or other document satisfactorily establishing his/her nationality and identity. Passengers arriving in the United Kingdom who are subject to immigration control must seek leave to enter from an immigration officer in order to establish whether they meet the requirements of those Immigration Rules. Personal details, including passport number, will be checked against the Immigration Service's warnings index.

Immigration ports of entry to the United Kingdom currently have no ability to record electronically machine readable passports, but the majority do have computerised warnings index equipment to read these passports.

The Immigration Service is currently testing several devices and their output relating to the technology needed to record data from machine-readable passports. A short and limited experiment was conducted at Dover during May 2002 for the purpose of trialling a particular piece of equipment in a working control environment. The data from the trial is still being evaluated.