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EU smart borders plan better for business and tougher for illegal immigrants

28 January 2013

EU smart borders plan better for business and tougher for illegal immigrants

A new proposal for ‘smart borders’ in the EU is a welcome measure to prevent people overstaying their visas and to make life easier for most visitors to Europe – particularly on business – Yorkshire MEP Timothy Kirkhope, European Conservatives and Reformists group home affairs spokesman, said today in welcoming the plan.

A new proposal for ‘smart borders’ in the EU is a welcome measure to prevent people overstaying their visas and to make life easier for most visitors to Europe – particularly on business – Yorkshire MEP Timothy Kirkhope, European Conservatives and Reformists group home affairs spokesman, said today in welcoming the plan.

The package proposed by the European Commission today consists of a Registered Traveller Programme (RTP) and an Entry/Exit System (EES) that will simplify life for frequent and vetted travellers into the Schengen area, avoiding administration and queues at the border.

Meanwhile, an Entry/Exit System (EES) will electronically record the time and place of entry and exit of non-EU citizens and an alert will automatically be issued to all national authorities the moment the visa expires, if the person has not left the EU.

Although the measures will only directly affect Schengen countries, they will nevertheless benefit non-Schengen countries by adding a second layer of protection to their borders with the Schengen zone.

Timothy Kirkhope, a former British immigration minister, said:

“Many current systems within mainland Europe rely upon manual checks and paper work, which can be inefficient, time consuming and inaccurate. A smarter electronic system will enable Europe to speed up entry for frequent or pre-cleared travellers, whilst clamping down more effectively on those who stay illegally.

“The proposed system is similar to the UK’s e-borders, which is a valuable tool in the fight against illegal immigration and organised crime. I am sure the UK would be pleased to offer the advice and expertise it has collected whilst developing its own system.

“Although the UK does not participate in the Schengen area, smarter, safer, and more secure borders within the European Union will inevitably have a positive impact on combating illegal immigration and addressing security concerns. An efficient and effective European Border system provides a second layer in guarding the UK’s borders as well.”

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