The UK Govt. recently announced that Australians arriving in the UK would now be able to fast-track through immigration. Philip Hammond, Chancellor to the Exchequer, made the announcement in the House of Commons.
Hammond said that Australian who held biometrically enabled e-passports would be able to use the e-passport gates at the airports in the UK. Currently, the e-passport gates are only open to people from the European Economic Area. The UK will soon start allowing travelers from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan as well.
Hammond also said that this would give a message to the world that the UK is open for business.
New statistics from the travel search engine KAYAK.com.au also showed that there is an increase in the number of Australians traveling to the UK. There was a 20% surge in the number of flight searches from Sydney to London in the year 2019.
George Brandis, Australian High Commissioner to the UK, welcomed the announcement as great news, as per News.com.
Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in Europe. More than 78 million passengers pass through it every year.
The new announcement means that Australians will no longer have to wait in queue for a border official to interview them. Australians will now be able to get through faster through the automatic e-passport gates. So far only citizens from the UK, EU, EEA, and Switzerland were able to use these gates.
This new development will significantly cut down the amount of time Australians spend at the UK airports. It also seems like the UK now wants to strengthen ties with the others in the Big 5- the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
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