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Will these plans REALLY revolutionise border controls?


Illegal migrants who have overstayed their visa will have access to benefits such as the NHS automatically restricted under new plans to revolutionise the UK's border controls.

The plans, which were published on Monday, involve the introduction of digital visas which could come into effect as soon as 2025 and would allow the Government to  restrict access to 'benefits, services and work' if their visa has expired.

The digitisation of the country's borders will allow different Government departments to share real-time data with each other and even with employers.

The Government believes the changes will reduce 'the major pull factors for illegal migration'.

The document states: 'The accuracy and richness of operational data captured with the new model for digitising the border will enable greater certainty on whether a person is “in” or “out” of the UK at any given point in time.

‘The use of automation to generate, or update, a digital status from a border crossing outcome event will enable the ability to accurately calculate and share a person’s status with third parties and other Government departments that give access to benefits, services and work to those who are eligible.

‘It will also deny them to those here illegally or without the necessary entitlements, reducing the major pull factors for illegal migration.'

The document states an online service will be used to prove immigrants' right to work or right to rent.

It will also allow system to system sharing of information with other government departments to enable access to public services such as the NHS. 

The changes mean that departments such as the DWP would be able to automatically check an applicant's immigration status before approving universal credit payments, for example.

Similarly, job applicants would no longer be required to prove their status because employers would already have access to the information.

The Government says the work towards a digital system for immigration status will 'reduce costs and improve border security by reducing the possibility of forgery or theft' of identity documents.

Priti Patel dodged the question of whether her major overhaul of the UK's immigration system will result in an increase or decrease in annual net migration when announcing the plans on Monday.