Border staff will no longer have to carry out basic checks of Covid-19 documents for travellers arriving in England from countries on the green and amber lists.
According to a leaked memo to Border officials, seen by The Guardian, they are no longer required to routinely check for a passenger locator form or details of required Covid tests on days two and eight after arrival.
Even if the Border Force computer system cannot find a passenger’s form, officers no longer have to check for the form or question the traveller unless they are showing “warning or behavioural indicators to suggest non-compliance”.
The memo also details how eGates at airports will stop referring passengers to in-person checks by border staff if the passenger locator form is not found by the electronic system.
Lucy Moreton, from the ISU union, which represents staff working in borders, immigration and customs, confirmed the memo’s accuracy when she spoke to the BBC.
“Ultimately this is a political decision. Certainly, it will reduce queue times significantly and hopefully also the level of verbal abuse to which Border Force staff are subject,” added Moreton.
“That is welcome to us. The impact on the UK’s Covid security is ultimately a scientific determination.”
While the government is not commenting directly on the leaked document, it added that airlines were required to check passengers’ forms and Covid test bookings before departure, as well as vaccine status certification from 19 July.