back to article Details of 600,000 foreign visitors to UK go up in smoke thanks to shonky border database

The details of 600,000 foreign visitors have slipped through the cracks of the Home Office's database thanks to its "shambolic" exit checks system. A report (PDF) by the chief inspector of borders and immigration, David Bolt, examined the department's Initial Status Analysis (ISA) system database and how ISA-produced data had …

  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Guardian has more details.

    There are some serious ridiculous numbers like missing 70% of Chinese visitors and someone chasing down the Chinese to be so kind and provide us with cross-reference information to scratch out those which left legitimately (nearly all of them by the way).

    I really do not see how this will work for "Taking control of our borders".

    1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: Guardian has more details.

      A solution would be to give an ID card to long term residents and get biometrics from all visitors.

      but then, you would need to get biometrics on the exit too.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: Biometrics and false positives

        Try asking Jean Charles de Menezes what could possibly go wrong.

      2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Guardian has more details.

        but then, you would need to get biometrics on the exit too.

        That does not help. It is absolutely pointless to collect anything at the border unless you can ask for it any point at a later date. In the UK you cannot - there is no legal requirement to identify yourself on the spot to police or other authorities which exists in nearly all (if not all) other countries in the world.

        So how much you have collected at the border is irrelevant. Those who want to disappear in one of the many "indigenous communities" around Britain will do so. This is in addition to those who are fluent in English to a point where they can "go native" in the middle of any suburbian street.

        1. MrXavia

          Re: Guardian has more details.

          "there is no legal requirement to identify yourself on the spot to police or other authorities "

          Good, because we should remain a free society, so many of our freedoms are being eroded, we need to fight to keep the few we have..

          I think we need to open our borders to those who want to work, just don't give them access to our benefits system until they have been here and contributed for 5 years.

          The restrictions on international students that were introduces were idiotic and harm the country

          The restrictions on foreign spouses I see as a violation of human rights and just plain decency.

          1. John G Imrie

            Re: Guardian has more details.

            I think we need to open our borders to those who want to work, just don't give them access to our benefits system until they have been here and contributed for 5 years.

            I'd go with the employer having to pay for insurance that would cover medical bills on the NHS and any thing else we deem necessary that should normally be paid out of NI contributions, for the first 5 years of an immigrants stay here.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Guardian has more details.

              "I think we need to open our borders to those who want to work,"

              Or how about not doing that and just making employers pay market rates for labour? Many of our inner cities are already like visiting a third world country.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Guardian has more details.

                Many of our inner cities are already like visiting a third world country.

                Not so! Most third world countries don't have Victorian terraced houses, and generally better weather....

                (For the record I live up the road from one of the worst of these inner city zones Harehills of Leeds if you feel like depressing yourselves.)

                Annon because I still to take the bus through the area.

                1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
                  Unhappy

                  Annon because I still to take the bus through the area.

                  Then if you're > 26 according to M. Thatcher you are a failure.

                  Understand the model for bus operators by Thatchers advisor was that in Chile.

                  Not that of a country in the G7.

                2. Loud Speaker

                  Re: Guardian has more details.

                  > Most third world countries don't have Victorian terraced houses, and generally better weather....

                  Nor do they rely on on-line buzzword matching for recruitment of technical experts to local jobs

                  (although quite a few rely on "uncles" already in the company for talent spotting)

                3. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Guardian has more details.

                  "Not so! Most third world countries don't have Victorian terraced houses, and generally better weather...."

                  But they do get dark very early!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Guardian has more details.

            Those have always been my positions here on the USian side of the pond. I'd add that serving in the military is an automatic path to citizenship. Here in California, we're going to our economy collapse without immigrant workers at both ends of the spectrum: agriculture which is desperately trying to switch to robots where possible; Silicon Valley and our universities post-grad researchers. But Trump....

        2. 2+2=5 Silver badge

          Re: Guardian has more details.

          > It is absolutely pointless to collect anything at the border unless you can ask for it any point at a later date.

          Not strictly true. It would show that, for example, a person who'd entered the UK on a time-limited visa hadn't over-stayed. If they were to apply for another visa in the future then approval could be quicker, on the basis that they had established a level of trustworthiness.

          This of course assumes that the system might benefit the individual in some small way - which of course is unlikely.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Guardian has more details.

          > In the UK you cannot - there is no legal requirement to identify yourself on the spot to police

          That's nice. Too bad they already know who you are. Unless you're a Chinese tourist.

        4. Noonoot

          Re: Guardian has more details.

          "Those who want to disappear in one of the many "indigenous communities" around Britain will do so. This is in addition to those who are fluent in English to a point where they can "go native" in the middle of any suburbian street."

          Is that a polite way of saying that UK has so many non-nationals that English isn't even the common language?

        5. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Guardian has more details.

            In most EU countries, for starters, carrying ID (in the form of an ID card if you're a resident, or valid passport if you're a foreigner) is mandatory.

            Not quite true, in 19 out of 33 countries they are optional or don't exist. The UK is just crap when it comes to proving people's identity and tracing someone's history, so much so that naturalised Windrush children who came to the UK when they were five or so and are now in their 60s are now getting caught up in yet another Home Office witch-hunt.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Guardian has more details.

      Well the current Home Office headline in The Guardian is that a father is being deported by the Home Office over an accounting error, something which HMRC didn't fine him for, and something nasty will happen to his autistic daughter as most people don't know what autism is in Pakistan.

      That is "taking control of our borders".

      What did John Reid say over a decade ago... "the Home Office is not fit for purpose".

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        What did John Reid say over a decade ago... "the Home Office is not fit for purpose".

        Unless of course it's "purposes" are

        Inciting hatred against foreigners

        Improving sales of tabloid newspapers encouraging Brexit.

        Avoiding blame for the incompetent motherf**kers in senior management and the succession of sock puppets who've been the Minister (T. May being the last) by blaming the EU.

        Expanding surveillance for 24/7/365/ of everyone in the UK.

        In which case it's doing an outstanding job. Otherwise I'd call it a "Centre for Evil" in the UK.

        1. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: What did John Reid say over a decade ago... "the Home Office is not fit for purpose".

          For 6 years of that decade, the Tin Lady was in charge, the remaining 2 years to date have been her imagination free friend Amber. I could never figure out how she could become PM and based on the subsequent performance, I still don't.

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            "I could never figure out how she could become PM "

            Easy.

            Govists hated Johnsonistas who hated Daviesites who hated Govists

            As May had never shown any inclination to independent thought she was the compromise candidate. Not actively disliked (very much) by anyone.

            That works fine at Ministerial level but once you make it to 10 Downing Street you actually have to set the direction, not follow it.

            And no one's ever told her how to do that.

            Meanwhile JRM circles ever closer, like a well dressed and well spoken shark. Or fanatic of the Inquisition, which is what he sounds like if you stop listening to how he sounds and listen to what he's saying. The complete ban on all abortions (including victims of rape and incest) gives you some idea what he means by "Radical social policy."

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Guardian has more details.

      >The Home Office said that a lack of evidence of departure was not confirmation that an individual remained in the country

      I think most of them are driving Ubers.

  2. Aitor 1 Silver badge

    Problems

    One of the problems these systems have is with people that have several ids, or changing passport numbers.

    I hold two nationalities, so two id cards, and two passports, and the passport numbers change with time as you renew them.

    So I might enter the UK with a Dutch passport, exit with a Spanish id and get back with a dutch id.

    On top of that, I have renewed both passports while living in the uk.

    Good luck tracking me.

    Now, I did give all this info to the authorities when I registered to get my NIN.. but these numbers do change with time... so how do they know I am the same guy? by name? mine is super easy to track, but it is not exactly the same in both ids.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Problems

      Most countries where you have to get a visa or a stamp in your passport won't let you out unless you're showing them the visa or the entry stamp, so switching passports is not an option.

      That's not currently a problem with your two EU passports in the UK, but in a years time who knows how easy it will be for an EU citizen to visit Britain?

      1. Solviva

        Re: Problems

        "Most countries where you have to get a visa or a stamp in your passport won't let you out unless you're showing them the visa or the entry stamp, so switching passports is not an option."

        I tried in Macedonia, on leaving the passport checking dude looked at me a bit funny and asked if I had another passport (the one I entered on :P).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Problems

          <Anon for obvious reasons>

          My partner has German and Brazilian citizenship, and has just applied for UK citizenship. While she uses her German passport to leave and enter the UK, if she's heading to Brazil she obviously gets on the plane as a German and gets off as a Brazilian - as do many of her Europe based compatriots.

          1. Teiwaz Silver badge

            Re: Problems

            ets on the plane as a German and gets off as a Brazilian

            I hate it when people hog the toilet on long-haul flights for unnecessary primping.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Problems

              I hate it when people hog the toilet on long-haul flights for unnecessary primping.

              Especially the ones that throw their towel on it as soon as they get on board.

          2. yoganmahew

            Re: Problems

            @Anon

            "<Anon for obvious reasons>

            While she uses her German passport to leave and enter the UK, if she's heading to Brazil she obviously gets on the plane as a German and gets off as a Brazilian - as do many of her Europe based compatriots."

            And it's perfectly legal; you'll find a lot of dual nationals do this - NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) going to the US for example - use one passport one way, and departing the US, and another for arrival in India. Of course, the mileage varies by country; some restrict dual nationality either totally, to one other or not between specific countries. IANAL.

        2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: Problems

          I tried in Macedonia, on leaving the passport checking dude looked at me a bit funny and asked if I had another passport

          That should be the same everywhere, even without visas or stamps, it's generally not a great idea to mix'n'match. Passports are scanned at exit & entry and anyone trying to leave when they apparently didn't enter (or vice-versa) should get a red flag). Physical stamps on paper passport pages are a very outdated mechanism now, I suspect they're only there as a backup to the electronic controls.

          Also remember the US position that if a US citizen who also has, say, an Irish passport uses it to enter an EU country they may not be able to call on a US embassy for help if they get into trouble. They will be politely invited to contact the Irish consulate, since they entered the country by claiming to be Irish. Other countries take a similar position.

          1. Len Silver badge

            Re: Problems

            Agreed, generally you should use a single passport for an entire journey to prevent getting into trouble. You can get into serious issues in some countries (like the US for instance) if you travel in on passport A but travel out on passport B as they might consider you to have never left the country.

            There are complexities with it, though. For instance, the US requires people who hold an American passport in addition to another to use their American passport to come in. This is what got Boris Johnson to be denied entry to the US a couple of years ago as he tried to enter on a British passport which clearly stated that he was born in New York. The border official asked him if he had denounced his American Citizenship, which he hadn't, and Johson was sent back to the UK on the first available flight.

            1. fredj

              Re: Problems

              New York is a hamlet in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England, in the parish of Wildmore in the Lincolnshire Fens on the B1192 road near Coningsby, 11 1⁄2 miles (18.5 km) north from Boston. At the 2001 Census, its population was less than 150.

              1. Solviva

                Re: Problems

                I spent millenium-not-bug new year in that very New York village hall!

              2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: Problems

                "New York is a hamlet in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, "

                According to the Wikipedia..."New York is a small village situated in Tyne and Wear in the North East of England and is part of the urban conurbation of North Tyneside."

                Not far away is Washington, Philadelphia, Ontario, Albany etc. :-)

            2. lowjik

              Re: Problems

              I had a strange issue once with leaving/entering the US. A long time ago I went on holiday to the British Virgin Isles but had to get a visa to travel through the united states, booked last minute had to go via New York JFK and San Juan Puerto Rico! Anywho, we were hungover to buggery on the last day and I didn't notice that the little green slip stapled in my passport wasn't removed on leaving. No biggy right?

              Fast forward a couple of years later and I had a gig installing hardware and software for my companie's new venture in the US, Greenville to be precise. I arrive at immigration in Charlotte with a business visa. The officer inspects my passport and asks me what I am doing in Puerto Rico - I casually explained I traveled through there on holiday and then proceeded to get a massive grilling about who I was and what I was doing and why. Turns out it looks like I am still in San Juan all because someone forgot to remove some stapled slip of green paper from my passport. Which I could (should?) have removed myself, if I had known.

              Can't really rely on that can they? This was post 2001 too

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Problems

                Be thankful you didn't do something like that with Mexico. You can do daily crossings on a work visa without much hassle, but on your last trip, make sure you get a Salida stamp to match your entrada stamp. Otherwise, when you next visit, you owe a fine of some pesos per day past your exit.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Problems

              a choice of passports you use at the moment is, sometimes, irrelevant, it's how the "host" country treats your nationality that matters, i.e. some countries take a stand that, no matter what other nationality you hold, if you hold THEIR nationality, you are THEIR nationals. With all the good, the bad and the ugly implications. Now, if you enter a 3rd country... that would be interesting, how that country treats you. I suppose, by your declaration, i.e. which passport you show at their borders.

            4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Problems

              "This is what got Boris Johnson to be denied entry to the US a couple of years ago as he tried to enter on a British passport which clearly stated that he was born in New York."

              His real problem was probably talking to the immigration officer who promptly decided he couldn't possibly be a native English speaker.

            5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
              Coat

              "and Johson was sent back to the UK on the first available flight."

              So, "Johnson* whipped out at airport" would be a valid headline?

              *I do find it very helpful that it's an old US slang term for the male member.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Problems

            "Physical stamps on paper passport pages are a very outdated mechanism now, I suspect they're only there as a backup to the electronic controls."

            As far as I can make out from TFA that suspicion seems to be founded on undue optimism - and likely to remain so until the Home Office get a clue.

            1. Loud Speaker

              Re: Problems

              I suspect they're only there as a backup to the electronic controls.

              Obviously needed, owning to total inability to engage competent subcontractors to do anything electronic involving data - other than lose it.

          3. Dr Scrum Master

            Re: Problems

            Also remember the US position that if a US citizen who also has, say, an Irish passport uses it to enter an EU country they may not be able to call on a US embassy for help if they get into trouble. They will be politely invited to contact the Irish consulate, since they entered the country by claiming to be Irish. Other countries take a similar position.

            But for tax purposes you're always a US tax payer no matter where in the world you are and which passport you used to enter or exit that country.

            Taxation and representation?

          4. Stork Silver badge

            Re: Problems

            How would they know if the person is resident in one Schengen country and goes to the embassy in another?

          5. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Problems

        "Most countries where you have to get a visa or a stamp in your passport won't let you out unless you're showing them the visa or the entry stamp,"

        So how do they deal with a replacement passport?

        1. JimBlueMK

          Re: Problems

          When you travel as a holiday maker the chances of you needing to renew your passport are pretty small. If you live in a country you have to get your visa transferred or take the old passport with you.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Problems

            "When you travel as a holiday maker the chances of you needing to renew your passport are pretty small."

            But not zero. Accidents can happen. However if the system is being developed by Agile coping with it can be left to a later sprint and it's just tough luck if your passport gets stolen before then.

      3. Craigie

        Re: Problems

        'Most countries where you have to get a visa or a stamp in your passport won't let you out unless you're showing them the visa or the entry stamp, so switching passports is not an option.'

        Only if you are brown.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Problems

          "Only if you are brown."

          I think you will find there is no problem leaving in that case. Its coming in thats difficult.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Problems

      I've been wondering about this myself. I'm currently using my Irish ancestry to get passports fro my self and family to ensure my kids have all of the flexibility that Farage and co. have striven to remove from the rest of the population (Was it ever confirmed that he had availed himself of an EU passport thanks to his German wife?). I can imagine (post Brexit) leaving the UK for Europe on an EU passport (no need for visa) but returning on the a UK one for the shorter queues, etc.

      Of course that might show as leaving but not returning depending on how the records are tied up.

      Brexit - what could possibly go wrong?

      1. Tim 49

        Re: Problems

        Fortunately I was also able to get an Irish passport. It'll help avoid the embarassment of people assuming I'm a "Little Englander" once the UK ones go blue again.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Problems

        "Brexit - what could possibly go wrong?"

        That we don't escape the EU?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Problems

          That's a given with or without Brexit. 'Escape', hah!!!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Problems

      How do you have a Dutch passport I thought you can't be a dutch citizen with more than one nationality?

      Anyway I've always been staggered at the way the UK doesn't have a passport check on the way out like I believe virtually any other country in Europe, and yet wine about border control the most.

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

        Re: Problems

        How do you have a Dutch passport I thought you can't be a dutch citizen with more than one nationality?

        It can happen, as I found out myself. When I was born (in Leyden, the Netherlands), I automatically got my father's British nationality, not my mother's (Dutch). Last year, what with Brexit looming, I decided I would explore the options of becoming Dutch, what with having lived here all my life (although at home I always spoke English, except when Dutch friends were around), and having a Dutch wife. It turned out, that for my case I could simply become Dutch, essentially making use of my birthright as a son of a Dutch mother. I asked whether I would have to get rid of my British passport, to which they answered "no", much to my surprise. I now have both nationalities (but only a British passport, and a Dutch ID card.

        For my kids too, I had to choose a nationality when registring their birth. I chose Dutch, for practical reasons, but when we got the paperwork back from the town hall, it listed both British and Dutch citizenship. I didn't complain.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Problems

          "For my kids too, I had to choose a nationality when registring their birth. I chose Dutch, for practical reasons, but when we got the paperwork back from the town hall, it listed both British and Dutch citizenship. I didn't complain."

          Based on what you wrote "here" appears to be the Netherlands. So how does their system work that they granted your kids British citizenship? Real question, not nitpicking, as a friend of mine was born, to British parents, in Malaysia and they had to apply specifically for to the UK for UK citizenship on his behalf as a baby.

        2. MonkeyCee Silver badge

          Re: Problems

          "I thought you can't be a dutch citizen with more than one nationality?"

          Just to add to Michael's post, the Dutch really don;t like people having two nationalities, and will sometimes make it difficult if you have two passports. Generally if you only have one they don't care, and a lot of the "Oh you can't" stories are from people who I've found out have been very incorrect about other aspects of Dutch law*.

          If you apply for nationality you generally have to give up all your other ones (this is not that uncommon for most countries). However, the majority of the people who gain nationality are already entitled to it, and are not applying as such, but exercising their existing right.

          There are several ways of gaining the entitlement to Dutch citizenship that specifically allow you to keep you existing ones, with marriage being the most obvious one.

          * possession of marijuana is illegal. Growing it is illegal. I've had Dutch people tell me I'm wrong up until the point I get my "you're a very naughty boy" letter from the local council

        3. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Problems

          I asked whether I would have to get rid of my British passport, to which they answered "no", much to my surprise. I now have both nationalities (but only a British passport, and a Dutch ID card.

          In your case you always had both British and Dutch nationalities due to your parents and all you were doing was having your Dutch nationality officially recognised.

          Unlike British citizens (only one nationality at birth) who moved to the The Netherlands who will soon have to make a tough choice.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Problems

            Unlike British citizens (only one nationality at birth) who moved to the The Netherlands who will soon have to make a tough choice.

            Renouce their British citizenship (which is a meaningless action), apply for Dutch, then go to the UK and say they changed their mind. Just a formality for the UK, their citizenship will be immediately reinstated. Not sure if the Dutch would care, or how they would find out.

      2. H in The Hague Silver badge

        Re: Problems

        "How do you have a Dutch passport I thought you can't be a dutch citizen with more than one nationality?"

        I'm not a lawyer so can't guarantee this is correct. At present they're not keen on dual nationality but at other times it was not an issue. Even now, you can get dual nationality by birth. And if you grew up here as a child and teenager, or you've been living here a long time and reach 65 you can opt to get Dutch nationality without giving up your other nationality. (In other cases, if you get naturalised you have to try and give up the other nationality.) And one of the coalition partners in the current government has proposed changing the rules, primarily to make life easier for Brits here who also want to take Dutch nationality.

      3. Hollerithevo

        Re: Problems

        Those countries that don't allow you to have another passport simply don't get told about the other passport. My dad had a USA passport and a Canadian one. Quietly.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Problems

      "Good luck tracking me."

      Presumably your name and date of birth are unchanged?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Problems

        "Good luck tracking me."

        Presumably your name and date of birth are unchanged?

        Name is a variable, not a constant. Date of birth is a constant but (a) although you were present at the time you have no recollection of it and are dependent on what someone else told you* and (b) what you inform someone as to your date of birth is also a variable. Those are the realities of those who don't want to be tracked.

        * There are exceptions around adoption etc. where not even the person doing the telling has no direct knowledge of the DoB.

    5. Dr_N Silver badge

      Re: Problems

      >So I might enter the UK with a Dutch passport, exit with a Spanish id and get back with a dutch id.

      Many people have multiple passports and play by the rules.

      Those who, like yourself, don't and flaunt the laws and rules: on to the restricted fly lists and extra security and immigration checks for you every single time you travel. You'll get the idea eventually. After spending many hours stuck in airports when you travel.

      The main issue for the UK is that it has no real immigration service, no real immigration system and no national ID. People who think brexit will solve all their immigration woes are bonkers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Problems

        The main issue for the UK is that it has no real immigration service, no real immigration system

        That's a sweeping statement, do you have any proof?

        1. Dr_N Silver badge

          Re: Problems

          >That's a sweeping statement, do you have any proof?

          The parade of clusterfuckery stories like this?

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Problems

          "That's a sweeping statement, do you have any proof?"

          It has the Home Office. How much more proof do you need?

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Problems

        "flaunt the laws and rules"

        Is this similar to waving them?

        1. Dr_N Silver badge

          Re: Problems

          Incorrect spell correction of "flaut". (Flout) ;-)

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        People who think brexit will solve all their immigration woes are bonkers.

        That part is true.

        The rest of your post got you a down vote.

    6. James O'Shea

      Re: Problems

      "I hold two nationalities, so two id cards, and two passports, and the passport numbers change with time as you renew them."

      Amateur. I have, in good standing, passports from:

      The UK

      The Irish Republic

      The US

      Jamaica (long story)

      I have, in good standing, driver's licenses from:

      The US

      Jamaica

      Barbados

      Trinidad

      Guyana (that one's about to expire and I can't be arsed to go back and renew it)

      I used to have a UK license, but that expired years ago.

      If I go to Jamaica on business, which I still have to every now and again, I depart waving the US identification and arrive in Jamaica on my Jamaican passport. If I go to Trinidad or Barbados, it's a bad idea to arrive on a Jamaican passport; the UK passport works fine in Little England, a.k.a. Barbados, but not so fine in Trinidad, where the Irish passport is better. Do not wave an American passport around in Piarco or Norman Manley or Grantly Adams unless you _want_ to get the Extra Special Treatment(tm). Some of the small islands will take an American or British driver's license as ID when entering/exiting. Waving a local driver's license gets the local, that is, non-tourist, rate at car rentals, small hotels, etc. (Who, me, cheap? Damn right.) I activate my nice Digicel SIM card in my phone, and avoid paying roaming charges. (Yes, I'm cheap.) If I'm in Trinidad I can be halfway to Port of Spain, cursing the traffic over the hands-free connection on my phone, before most of the Americans on my flight get out of Customs. If I'm in Jamaica I can be passing Rockfort, cursing the traffic over my hands-free connection, before _any_ of the Americans on my flight get out of Customs. If I'm in Barbados I'll be cursing the traffic on the ABC along with everyone on my flight. (Bajans cannot drive. They're worse than Quebecois.)

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Problems

        "I used to have a UK license, but that expired years ago."

        Really? Mine is valid until I'm 70. Unless you got one of the very first photocard licences which need to be updated every 10 years. (not sure if that's an actual expiry or just a mandatory update of the photo and details.)

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Problems

      Lots of Americans have dual UK/US nationality because you don't have to give up your UK passport when you get a US one. Its normally not a problem, you just travel on your US passport, but inside the EU its a bit of a pain because you have to line up and get stamped all the time. Its therefore tempting to carry your UK passport when you travel inside the EU.

      Of course, come March 29th next year that's not going to be a problem -- UK passport holders will join the 'other ranks' at the border controls.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Problems

        Of course, come March 29th next year that's not going to be a problem -- UK passport holders will join the 'other ranks' at the border controls.

        I think that remains to be seen.

        A logical corollary of that position would be that UK airports like Heathrow would put EU/EEA citizens into the "others" queue, and so would have one queue for UK (and possibly Irish) passports, and one huge queue for "others". I can't see that being popular with European visitors so they may well retain the EEA/elsewhere split, with an expectation that it would be reciprocal. After all, the actual passport check is no different, same scan and results go to same computer. The only difference might be that the official will ask more questions for a non-EEA passport. As with so many things, the EU may mandate that its members do certain things in a certain way, but it doesn't mean that non-members can't choose to do the same if they wish.

    8. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Chemist

    Why anyway ?

    I travel by road into Switzerland via France 3/4 times a year - nobody checks, we have a holiday and return again without checks ( other than UK) . If Switzerland can manage without being completely overrun how come we have a problem. ( We stay in our own apartment BTW so no checks there either )

    1. Len Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Why anyway ?

      Switzerland and France are both in Schengen, the UK is not.

      Even if the UK wanted to be in Schengen (which I don't see it applying for any time soon) it wouldn't be allowed to join until it sorts out its border control. The UK has a poor reputation for border control (this article demonstrates that perfectly) and the other Schengen members would balk at the thought of the UK becoming a backdoor into Schengen. The key to Schengen is very strict border controls at the outer border (this is what an external Schengen border looks like: https://www.ethicsandinternationalaffairs.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/EU-border-photo.jpg) and adding a sieve like the UK to it won't be welcomed.

      1. Chemist

        Re: Why anyway ?

        "Switzerland and France are both in Schengen, the UK is not."

        I know all about Schengen - I've been enjoying its advantages for years. My point is Switzerland seems to cope with a free movement in highly desirable country without having to record every in/out. It's basically done another way if you want to remain/work. Until France tightened up security at Dover recently* and UK exit checks were introduced it was normal to drive UK-France-Switzerland-Italy and return and show passports once (at UK border in Calais). Before Schengen most European borders involved cursory checks if any.

        *Schengen is very strict border controls at the outer border - Oh yes, even now at the French 'border' at Dover the passports are usually just glanced at if at all

        1. Len Silver badge

          Re: Why anyway ?

          Minor nitpick, Freedom of Movement has nothing to do with border control. The people at the border don't care about your FoM status, it's not their job, will never be their job and it couldn't even be their job.

          Freedom of Movement is not about the right to pass a border, it is about the right to live, work and own property in another country. There are countries in Europe that have no border controls but also no Freedom of Movement (Liechtenstein for instance). There are countries in Europe with Freedom of movement and border control (Ireland and the UK for instance).

          The people at the border check for someone's eligibility to enter the country, not their eligibility to work there. They couldn't because it is impossible for someone at a border booth to tell if someone is coming to the country to work or for a ten day vacation. If they have a valid visa or are from a country with a visa waiver they can come in. Some people might overstay their visa or work on a tourist visa but there is no way to positively predict that when someone arrives at the border.

          Ultimately immigration is not a border issue, it is something that is dealt with behind the border, when applying for a National Insurance Number for instance. Or requiring employers to make sure their staff are eligible to work in the country. To a limited degree it is also dealt with before the border, when someone from a 'risky' country applies for a visa for a holiday but doesn't have the funds to pay for a three week trek through the country, can't show proof of hotel bookings or return flights etc.

          Don't expect the UK Government to understand this though, they wouldn't be where they are now if they knew what they were doing. Theresa May has been Home Secretary for six years and still doesn't understand the difference between immigration and border control.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: If they have a valid visa or are from a country with a visa waiver they can come in

            I don't know if anything's changed, but in the past, at least by 2005(ish), I remember people from Eastern Europe being grilled at the UK border, and some refused entry, even though they - technically - didn't need a visa since, well, at least mid-1990s. They were refused entry because they looked / sounded like they came to work illegally, rather than spend their money (the little they had) in the UK.

        2. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: Why anyway ?

          at Dover the passports are usually just glanced at if at all

          Meanwhile, at the British side, it's all surveilance cams, uniforms, suspicion and the everpresent threat of invasive searches over a matter of an extra ounce or two of tobacco or a additional bottle of french plonk.

          The UK never did get the hang of trusting it's neighbours... or it's own citizens much.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Why anyway ?

            Meanwhile, at the British side, it's all surveilance cams, uniforms, suspicion and the everpresent threat of invasive searches

            Not been to France or Belgium recently, have you? Video cameras popping up like mushrooms, and don't forget that the French Gendarmerie Nationale is a military force, not a civilian one. That would never be tolerated in the UK.

        3. Len Silver badge

          Re: Why anyway ?

          You will notice that France has been scanning passports on leaving the country for a non-Schengen country for as long as I can remember. It takes two seconds and they won't ask you questions or anything but you bet they have recorded that you've left France at that border crossing at that particular time using that particular travel document.

          Before the UK introduced exit checks on the Eurostar it was always astonishing that the French checked you coming in and out but that the British only checked you when coming in.

          A friend of mine worked in Turkey for years, during the height of the IS issue in Syria, as a liaison for European countries to stop their jihadies joining IS. Most countries have a list of people they 'keep an eye on' and if someone on such a list left a European country for a flight to Turkey they would be flagged up in advance. Not, however, if they were British jihadies as the UK didn't scan their exits, much to his chagrin. They would usually not be detected until they were found loitering around the Turkish/Syrian border. If they were detected...

          1. Chemist

            Re: Why anyway ?

            "France has been scanning passports on leaving the country for a non-Schengen country for as long as I can remember"

            That's certainly not true at Calais. The recent terror incidents have often resulted in French troops searching car boots (duplicated by security staff BTW) but no scanning passports as far as I can recall. (I'm usually too annoyed by the size of the queue at UK control.)

            1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              Re: Why anyway ?

              That's certainly not true at Calais. The recent terror incidents have often resulted in French troops searching car boots (duplicated by security staff BTW) but scanning passports non.

              The Schengen rules changed about a year ago, they now say:

              "The amendment obliges member states to carry out systematic checks against relevant databases on all persons, including those enjoying the right of free movement under EU law (i.e. EU citizens and members of their families who are not EU citizens) when they cross the external borders. The databases against which checks will be carried out include the Schengen Information System (SIS) and Interpol's database on stolen and lost travel documents (SLTD). The checks will also enable member states to verify that those persons do not represent a threat to public policy, internal security or public health. This obligation shall apply at all external borders (air, sea and land borders), both at entry and exit.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Why anyway ?

            Most countries have a list of people they 'keep an eye on'

            Yes, and most of the recent terrorist atrocities in France have been committed by people who were on such a list ("Fiché S" as the French describe it), including last weeek's 3 murders near Carcassone. It hasn't helped.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Why anyway ?

              "Yes, and most of the recent terrorist atrocities in France have been committed by people who were on such a list"

              And everywhere else in Europe!

          3. Solviva

            Re: Why anyway ?

            My partner is non EU with UK vist Visa. Im UK, living in Europe.

            Drove back to the UK for Christmas a couple of years back, first time using her visa so no idea what to expect. Was surprisingly simples... French exit policeman looks at passports, gives her an exit stamp. Drive on to the the British control, he looks at the passports, no questions, no stamp, wishes us a nice trip.

            Leaving the UK, nobody at all in the UK border post at Dover, the following French point was occupied, so I stopped there, they waved us on, I shouted non-EU to the dude who wasn't the least bit interested and still insisted on waving us, so we proceeded.

            Entered the UK again via Stansted a couple of weeks before the Visa expired. Immigration dude asks why we've changed plans, to which we look rather confused. So he makes it a bit clearer and asks why we haven't used the visa until it's about to expire. Turns out partner was supposed to get a stamp when she entered the UK last time, but immigration officer failed to do that and who were we to tell him how to do his job :)

            So in her passport she has proof she left France in December, and the next stamp was leaving again the EU in January, having magically re-entered without any proof.

            Last Christmas they stopped us at both the UK & French posts in Dover so she got her French entrance stamp, still no UK exit stamp...

        4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Why anyway ?

          "Before Schengen most European borders involved cursory checks if any."

          I remember arriving in Calais by ferry in the early-1980s. It was lunchtime. French border control/customs were no where to be seen.

          1. Chemist

            Re: Why anyway ?

            "I remember arriving in Calais by ferry in the early-1980s. It was lunchtime. French border control/customs were no where to be seen."

            I passed through a border about the same time - I think it was Lux.-France. There was a border post but all that was visible was the bottom of a large pair of boots hanging out of the box ( officer attached )

            1. JimboSmith Silver badge

              Re: Why anyway ?

              I passed through a border about the same time - I think it was Lux.-France. There was a border post but all that was visible was the bottom of a large pair of boots hanging out of the box ( officer attached )

              In the late 90s I flew into Glasgow on a private jet* and there was no one at the immigration desk. Bloke had to be found to look at the outside of our passports and waive us through.

              Flying out of and back to France that day there wasn't any sign of immigration.

              (A small group of us had been offered to join the trip by someone who was going had already hired the plane)

      2. Solviva

        Re: Why anyway ?

        "Switzerland and France are both in Schengen, the UK is not."

        Doesn't feel like that. In Nice (FR, schengen?) airport yesterday, travelling to Amsterdam (NL, schengen), went to the Schengen airport lounge where they said I'm in the wrong place, I need to go to the non-Schengen area for my lounge and flight :)

        France have introduced random annoying ID checks on arriving/departing flights of late. Anybody thinking of slipping under the radar surely knows you just need to cross the border by road... You might have to anonymise your vehicle first if you were really wanting to hide.

      3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Why anyway ?

        The UK has a poor reputation for border control (this article demonstrates that perfectly) and the other Schengen members would balk at the thought of the UK becoming a backdoor into Schengen.

        I'm, sorry, but you have to be joking. Comparing the Italian and Greek borders, where most immigrants arrive into the UK at present, with the UK, and then claiming the UK is a sieve, is nonsense. I suspect this is a more accurate view of an external Schengen border: http://www.lagunadeifenici.it/2016/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/riserva-naturale-torre-san-teodoro.jpg

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why anyway ?

      Because everyone loves the Swiss and the Swiss love everyone?

    3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Why anyway ?

      If Switzerland can manage without being completely overrun

      Leaving aside the Schegen issues, whichis why this is possible, have you been reading the French/Swiss press from border regions lately? The whole issue of "Frontaliers" (people who work in Switzerland but live in France where it's cheaper) is a very hot one for the Swiss, many of whom want to see the border much less open. Given the Swiss love of direct democracy via referendums it wouldn't surprise me to see that heatup more in the future.

      1. Chemist

        Re: Why anyway ?

        "issue of "Frontaliers" (people who work in Switzerland but live in France where it's cheaper)"

        Indeed when leaving Switzerland via the crossing near Vallorbe at ~0600 I'm always amazed by the number of cars streaming towards Switzerland from what is a relatively sparsely populated area of France. The Swiss have a shortage of all sorts of workers and low unemployment so I can't see this being easily changed.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why anyway ?

      "If Switzerland can manage without being completely overrun"

      ... well, they did have a referrendum that in theory required the government to stop immigration which passed because many people there did think they were being "overrun"

  4. steamnut

    Blairs joke..

    This morning I heard Tony Bliar on the radio extolling the virtues of what effectively was an ID card as a way of tracking immigration. It's the only real solution and lots of other countries have them. It's about time we had them here and sod the liberals.

    And, if we started this year, it might be finished before I die.....

    1. Len Silver badge

      Re: Blairs joke..

      I am not massively against ID Cards, if implemented well with the necessary safeguards etc. but I don't think that's a priority.

      I would rather start with just having one identifier that people use to pay taxes, receive benefits, prove eligibility for NHS treatment, apply for a parking permit, pay council tax, open a bank account etc. etc. It would eliminate a lot of fraud and make a lot of interactions with public services so much easier and less prone to mistakes. It should be done well of course, not like the Americans where your social security number should be kept secret otherwise you can get scammed. The identifier should be like an email address (fairly public), not like a password (to be kept secret). It is not rocket science, countries all around us have implemented this pretty well. This identifier could end up on a physical ID Card but one could still decide implement the identifier without ever creating a physical card.

      Not that that has any relevance to border controls. There is no point having ID cards if the people at the border don't scan them when you leave the country. The problem is the UK's shoddy approach to border control, not the lack of ways to identify oneself.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Blairs joke..

        Where were going you don't need cards.

        Home Office Biometric (HOB) Programme

        Plans to bring together the capabilities under the IDENT 1 fingerprint system and the Immigration and Asylum Biometric System (IABS).

        It places the focus on the ability to manage data on fingerprints, DNA and facial matching, with the requirements including application support and maintenance, infrastructure support services, migration of the existing systems to a public cloud host, and consolidating into two data centres.

        IDENT 1 links police and justice agencies throughout the UK and is currently run by Northrop Grumman, which has previously emphasised its potential for integration with data on biometrics other than fingerprints. IABS is run by IBM.

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Blairs joke..

        I would rather start with just having one identifier that people use

        To me, the problem with an ID card system is when it becomes compulsory. I have no problem with having the option to get an ID card which would carry exactly the ID you propose. It could also serve as age ID for buying alcohol, etc.

        Where I dislike such things is when having, and carrying, it becomes mandatory (which is the case in about half the EU countries). That effectively criminalizes forgetfulness and comes too close to "papers, please" stop & search powers.

        1. Len Silver badge

          Re: Blairs joke..

          The problem with ID Cards is that they can only really work if they are compulsory. Otherwise 'I left mine at home' is a great way to escape any check. Furthermore, it must apply universally, either everyone needs to be able to identify or nobody.

          That is why it was so hilarious to have one of the Cabinet airheads (Davis?) proclaim some time ago that after Brexit only non-British EU Citizens would have to carry some form of ID. At a spot check anyone could just claim to have British Citizenship and they wouldn't have had to show any ID so it could never work.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Blairs joke..

            The problem with ID Cards is that they can only really work if they are compulsory. Otherwise 'I left mine at home' is a great way to escape any check.

            Not really, it's a question of convenience.

            "Can't you confirm your ID/age/address, please?". If you have a card, and wish to show it, job done. Otherwise it might be "Sorry, can't sell you that beer", or "very well sir, please wait while we find someone to confirm your ID", etc.

            Your choice, depending on the circumstances, but not having or carrying one must not in itself be an offence.

            1. Len Silver badge

              Re: Blairs joke..

              "Not really, it's a question of convenience."

              We're not talking about having to ID to buy a beer of course. That is indeed a very simple situation.

              What we are talking about is someone being stopped in the street because they hang around a risky area and at a time very few people would hang around there. Or being found sleeping in triple bunk beds in a three bedroom house that 35 people call home. Or just being involved in a traffic accident. Or having an unfortunate skin colour. Or just walking into a random funnel on the street.

              1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

                Re: Blairs joke..

                "What we are talking about is someone being stopped in the street because they hang around a risky area and at a time very few people would hang around there."

                I'm a little lost, what does this have to do with ID cards?

                The cops, even in the UK, have the power to stop and search you if they have a "reasonable suspicion" of quite a long list of things. They can also do it if there's a potential situation kicking off and you look like you might be involved. Oh, and if they think you're a terrorist. Last one applies to PCSOs too, so you can get stopped and searched for looking like a terrorist. Whatever that is. Brown I'd guess, or white and with an Irish accent....

                If you're in a car, you can also be required to give your name and address, as compared to being on the street. But drivers licences are Id cards lite, so don't really count :)

          2. MonkeyCee Silver badge

            Re: Blairs joke..

            "That is why it was so hilarious to have one of the Cabinet airheads (Davis?) proclaim some time ago that after Brexit only non-British EU Citizens would have to carry some form of ID. "

            Which, like almost everything DDavis says as regards to the EU, is not going to happen because it's against the law. And no, the ECJ isn't going to back off on that.

            You either require *all* your residents to carry ID, or not. Hence why many EU countries do require you to, wherever you come from.

            Of course the plucky brits will never accept any form of an ID card and "papers please".

            Except for buying booze and fags.

            Or driving a car.

            Or opening a bank account.

            Or leaving the country.

            Or getting a job.

            Or using the NHS.

        2. Stork Silver badge

          Compulsory ID

          I think there is only 3 European countries without ID cards, UK, Denmark, ..?

          Here in Portugal you normally get 24 or 48 hours to present your ID at a police station and may get a minor fine - not sure. If the busies find you suspicious they may go with you home to check; in other cases they may accept a driving license as ID and what their fingers.

          In Denmark you are typically asked you national ID number (which you need for any interaction with public sector, so you remember it) and check against the address you give them. If it fits they tend to believe you. BTW, the ID number is of the format DDMMYY-XXXX, i.e. your date of birth + 4 digits.

          1. James O'Shea

            DDMMYY-XXXX

            Hmm... that seems to put a hard limit of 10000 IDs/day, assuming that they start with 0000 and push straight through to 9999, something which sounds... unlikely, if only for the way that it’d make life easy for certain elements of society. Adding two more Xes would make things much harder to fake. And would leave space for popuation growth.

            1. Stork Silver badge

              Re: DDMMYY-XXXX

              No, it is lower than that. Last digit is for a check digit***) and is odd for males and even for females*) and the first X indicates century **). The system was designed in the late 60es when memory was precious, the population about 4.5 million (now 5.4). With that population, you need in average about 200 numbers per date where you have 540 according to Wikipedia: https://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/CPR-nummer

              The nice thing about it is that as resident you only ever have to remember one number, and a 4-digit one in reality.

              The Really Scary thing about it is how much can be found about about you with very little effort as _everything_ has it: Banks, tax, libraries, employment contracts, passports. DB people like it as it is guaranteed unique.

              If you try to fake one you are likely to be found out pretty quickly, banks typically get your address from the public register.

              *) Yes, this has given controversy regarding sex change, trans, and what have you.

              **) It has happened that developers forgot to do a check here and asked the 105 year old to come with parents to register for school.

              ***) I just found this seems to have been abolished in 2007.

        3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Big Brother

          "Where I dislike such things is when having, and carrying, it becomes mandatory "

          Push the bayonet in, Comrade. If it finds fat, push harder.

          Do you doubt that's how the UK Home Office would behave, given the chance?

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Blairs joke..

      There's another problem with ID cards. They would require a large government IT project, and I'm sure you can all guess what that means:

      Crapita!

  5. Christoph Silver badge

    What's the problem?

    They still have exactly one year until B-Day when the systems absolutely must be working perfectly.

    I'm sure that with a whole 365 days to work in they will be able to get everything sorted, no problem.

    At the same time as they improve border surveillance by strapping cameras to the flying pigs.

    1. John G Imrie
      Happy

      Re: What's the problem?

      There are about 254 working days between now and Brexit 8 hours a day, gives 2032 hours per 100% fit person to get it working.

    2. FlossyThePig

      Re: What's the problem?

      Negotiations for the Canada - EU trade deal began in 2009 but they started talking about it in 2004. Negotiations were concluded in 2014.

      If you expect Brexit negotiations to be concluded in one year (or even three) you must be living in Farage land.

      They're coming to take me away ho ho he he ha ha to the funny farm where life is beautiful all the time*

      *Napoleon XIV

  6. Serg

    Digital ID

    I am fully aware that a proper form of UK Government Digital ID would be a powergasm for 'The (Wo?)Man', but it would also mean that you could tie everything important into it: Passport, HMRC NINO/records, hypothetical ID card, DWP benefits/etc, DVLA driving license, and so on. You could use it to electronically sign and encrypt documents too - such as bank account setup agreements, employment contracts, lease agreements, etc.

    You want to come into the UK and live here? You need to get a UK Digital ID, otherwise you won't be able to set anything up. No, this doesn't solve the issue of tracking non-residents, but that should've been resolved a long time ago by whoever was in power; I'm sure it's not the same Party that's now in power or the Party that made this Brexit mess a reality in the first place, after all that would just be hypocritical.

    Again - I fully understand that it could also serve as a surveillance wet dream, but there are so many darn benefits. If only someone had already done something like this, they could serve as inspiration - maybe the Germans, or the Swiss, or Estonia. Oh, wait...

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Gimp

      "I am fully aware that a proper form of UK Government Digital ID would be a powergasm "

      Funny you should say that.

      Friends who've looked into this say that UC looks exactly like someone is trying to get a clean load of some sort of IDK, let's call it a "National Identity Register" database, for wont of a better term.

      Including that a mobile number is mandatory. Handy for people in desperate need.

      *That is to say people who the UK government has a desperate need to keep track of.

  7. Empire of the Pussycat

    straight out of "the thick of it"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_FrQnQv0Vw

  8. Trollslayer Silver badge
    Flame

    The Home Office

    That explains it and matches my dealings with them a couple of times.

    NOT the front line staff, they were great but privileged gits further back.

  9. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Mandatory ID

    The problem is that once we have mandatory I.D. cards, every Tom, Dick & Harry will be demanding that you register your ID card for everything you want to do. Scan your card when you board a train or bus. Register your card when you buy alcohol. Tap the terminal with your ID card when entering any public building ...

    We will all then be effectively tracked and categorized by the government, who will no doubt then make a bit of extra money by selling such information to "responsible partners" (like the DVLA does). Next thing your insurance will go up because you buy more than X amount of booze or tobacco per month ... etc.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Mandatory ID

      "The problem is that once we have mandatory I.D. cards, every Tom, Dick & Harry will be demanding that you register your ID card for everything you want to do."

      As I and others predicted when CRB (now DBS) was introduced. My work occasionally takes me into schools. Most insist on seeing my cert. even though I'm not going to be wandering around unsupervised and am not going to be alone with any children, least of all twice within two weeks, which are the legal requirements to even need the Cert. let alone to be forced to produce it every bloody time. Actually, it's not even a cert. now. Just a reference number which they record but apparently don't actually follow up on. Security theatre by jobsworths.

  10. Scott Broukell
    Meh

    A Deposit scheme !

    Simple, get your money back (c.200 quids), from border security on your way out of the country!

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: A Deposit scheme !

      Cue people leaving repeatedly and claiming their £200, yet somehow never entering.

      Never underestimate the incompetence of the Home Office.

  11. JassMan Silver badge
    FAIL

    What hope for the Northern Ireland border

    If the government can't keep track of a few hundred thousand human what hope will they have of keeping track of billions of items crossing the Northern Ireland "soft" border once Brexit takes effect. I can see why Barnier is dubious about the proposals put forward by May, Davis, Gove et al.

    13 years, and they still they can't get it right. What hope have they got for building a working database to ship goods across the border during the transition period. Yet more "magical" thinking from DExEU or whatever they call themselves.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK and IT in the same story....

    Of course it's not working. Par for the course.

    How hard is it to record the same passport going through Passport control in each direction?

    (Machine readable code or built in ID chip)

    That covers the vast majority of travellers.

  13. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
    Unhappy

    For those familiar with large projects - BREXIT roulette

    I may, of course, be in the minority but my experience of large and complicated projects includes RAG status reporting, and deadline roulette.

    Everyone knows that they have slip in their project, but they also know that if they report amber status then they will be on a very large naughty step and have nasty things said to them.

    Eventually one of the PMs cracks, and admits that they won't meet the delivery date in the plan. After the ritual whipping and an announcement that the delivery date has slipped, suddenly all the other parts of the project realise that quite by chance they have suddenly noticed that they wouldn't have met the original date but can of course meet the new one.

    I am getting a strong sense of this from the Brexit progress reporting. Everyone knows that the timescales are impossible but nobody is admitting it. Nobody wants to be held responsible. Everyone is waiting for someone else to crack first.

    Of course, the EU may extend, the UK may extend, Parliament may throw a spanner in the works, there could even be another referendum and/or a general election. Who knows, perhaps the horse will sing.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: For those familiar with large projects - BREXIT roulette

      "Of course, the EU may extend, the UK may extend, ..."

      If it suits the political classes on both sides, then both sides may extend pretty much indefinitely. The current position is that we appear to have lost our voting rights, but as long as we stick to the rules we are continuing to enjoy the benefits. It is not inconceivable that both sides might reckon that situation is actually better than anything they have so far managed to negotiate. Actual brexit might never happen.

  14. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Taking back control

    well control-A del Y by the sounds of it.

  15. unwarranted triumphalism

    It's not fair to demand that the Home Office keep track of people.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The home office is not fit for purpose

    I think that everybody needs to accept that they can´t always have it their way and that we´re going to have to compromise if we are to find a solution. We can´t continue to leave the floodgates open and It is too extreme for many to rebuild those flood gates and close them.

    There are very large numbers of British subjects that want immigration from countries with polar opposite values to be stopped. Only 5 years ago the general consensus seemed to be fine, let them all in and bring their families too. But something changed.

    The impact and outcome of mass and largely uncontrolled immigration from societies that have a superiority complex, views on homosexuality and women rights that are simply incompatible in a Liberal Democracy, above average birth rates and a two tiered non-secular legal system are now known.

    It took time but now the effects are well known and as it happens, the effects seem as though they are not worth it.

    Previously open minded people have now shifted their positions to one of ¨enough is enough¨.

    Polarising news outfits such as the Guardian, BBC and Daily Mail only inflame the situation further and it still a taboo subject, we still cannot discuss to elephant in the room without drawing accusations of Nazism or bigotry and Far Right political views in-spite of us effectively importing those very same attributes through immigration.

    The home office cannot manage this situation, they have shown that they are incapable. Their main focus appears to be coming down hard on those that follow the rules and engage with the system while those that present a danger or at least ignore internationally accepted migration and immigration norms are waved through. Some horrifying inconsistencies exists ranging from admitting known enemy combatants who have engaged in combat with the enemy who have then gone on to commit acts of terrorism in the UK to handing out life bans on entry to the UK to Conservative journalists.

    The media are complicit in this, i note that the mainstream are referring to these banned journalist as ¨Far Right Activists¨ when they are nothing of the sort.

    We know that the Home Office are incapable of preventing those that would do us harm and those that seek to change our culture to meet their own desires, from entering and from staying here. We also know that a growing number of people are changing their views on the subject and we must know by now that it is impossible to continue to try to control immigration this way without A) bad people getting in and B) collateral damage.

    It is time for a national debate on what we want, are we on the right path? Do people really understand where this path is leading?

    If the Home Office cannot manage a simple database then we have a much larger problem than databases on our hands, we have a government department that is unfit for purpose and a government that is calibrated with the population.

    Personally I think that the current faux par of referring to specific demographics within the main immigration pool is extremely unhelpful. Many would say ¨ban muslims!¨"and other would say ¨we need then for the NHS!¨.

    We, why can´t we continue to have mass immigration but favour countries that share our values system, such as Canada, The US, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, certain parts of India, Most of the EU.

    Why do we seem to recruit almost exclusively from pools of people from mainly Islamic countries that have very little in common with us?

    Is it any wonder that we are seeing such a huge backlash against immigration?

    I am going to go anonymous on this one because there are so many guardian readers here that it will be moments before the Far Left abuse starts coming in but to you especially, Far Left reader, My views on this are that we must discuss these issues freely so that we might examine them and you never know, agree a solution that is acceptable for everyone, including you.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No doubt...

    ... IT and any sys admin would have been banging on how poor the system was (you'll get one or two kissing arse and claiming it was fine) but will have been ignored by upper management (directors etc) and told in not so many words "if you want to keep your job keep quiet".

    Seen it before in local government. Especially with a low code system that was mis-sold and no one has ever heard of so getting new people to code for it is near impossible. They'll join, realise no one else uses said app and then quit. Can't keep telling management or the directors though, cause they've already pissed millions on it when they originally claimed it would save money. Speak too loudly about its issue and you suddenly become redundant. Its criminal but whistle blow and you get even more screwed over.

  18. Melanie Winiger

    Can't we get to the Root Cause? Blame the Iron Lady

    It was Mrs Thatcher's Government who abolished outbound Passport checks from the UK in the late 1980s to get rid of those dreadful unionised staff.

    Well done to all concerned!

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