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  1. #1
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    Default No exit stamp on leaving the UK - immigration control?

    hey guys, hope you're all having a good weekend - I certainly am with my gf over here on her visit visa Although last night she drank a bit too much and was very maow so is currently sleeping off a hangover, giving me time to post this on thai-uk!

    One thing that occurred to me the other day - my gf never got an exit stamp when she left the UK after her first visit. I admit whenever I've gone abroad I've never gone through passport control on the way out, rather naively I just assumed it was somehow just because I was a British citizen, hence there's no need for any checks.

    However, after reading up on the subject online, it appears the UK pretty much has no exit checks for anyone! True, having passport officers on exit at every British airport would be a considerable expense, and true, if someone's leaving the UK, it's not quite as important as checking them on entry.

    But, on the other hand, how do they police immigration? An example are 6 month visit visas - don't get me wrong, me and my gf would never dream of taking the risk of an overstay, but what's to stop other foreign nationals (Thai or otherwise) from staying for, say, 1 year and then returning to their home country and saying they only were only over here for the 6 month period?

    Sorry it's probably a bit of a heavy question for a Sunday morning lol it's just something I'd be interested in learning more about, as it seems a rather big loophole in our border controls!

    As I've said, me and my gf wouldn't ever consider it worth taking the risk, but what's to stop less scrupulous individuals from taking advantage?

  2. #2
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    Interesting that!! but they do check passports when leaving don't they?? Can't remember, and when they do surely they'd know if someone had overstayed?

  3. #3
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    Im glad that you are having a good weekend Falcon, and congrats on your visa success
    I never asked to see my girlfriends passport, but I think the Thailand authorities stamped her passport going out and again on her return to Thailand. So, when applying for next visa it is clear to see there was no overstay last time. In any case, you should keep airline boarding cards as back-up evidence of dates of travel.

  4. #4
    Veteran ผู้มีประสบการณ์ ian1208's Avatar
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    No real reason now for UK exit stamp.
    When a foreigner arrives you will notice that they have to proceed through a separate passport control gate. Here the passport is scanned and the details logged.
    On exit, all passenger details are supplied by airlines (API) and are put in the system.
    If an immigration officer wishes to check something, he uses a few methods of search like name and DOB and passport number.
    All can be revealed and if something doesn’t quite fit, he can ask. The old stamp on exit was only of use when we didn’t know how to integrate the computers.
    Judging others before you have met isn't a wise option.

  5. #5
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    Hi Falcon

    I believe this is a big problem in terms of UK Border Control, you are right people are checked coming in but once here can seemingly then just vanish into the system, i had a "friend" a few years back a Filipina who came here on a Tourist visa for 6 months sponsored by her Auntie and ended up staying nearly 8 years working illegally...even those here on student visa's don't seem to be so well checked i have encountered many Filipino carers here the past 3-4 years who come to study NVQ or HND and then while limited to example working 20 hours per week reguarly work 70-80 hours per week and can seemingly work at will for recruitment agencies aside from sponsored employer, the whole thing seems a complete mess to me.

  6. #6
    Premium Member sisaket's Avatar
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    i remember a couple of years ago we had a holiday in the republic of ireland , the other half needed a irish visa , we flew to cork from manchester upon arrival she got a stamp , that was fine
    but coming back from dublin i thought were gonna need the passport stamped from ireland or entering the UK thus can count towards days outside of the UK in case of citizenship , went to ask around in dublin airport , could nt get anyone to stamp mrs out of ireland , they just kept saying we dont stamp to the UK , on arrival in manchester was the same thing , common travel area dont need a stamp back in , i thought how would they know how long she d been in ireland could have been weeks , months or years.
    i asked to see a immigration manager who just said she s only been on holiday with you dont worry were not interested if she s been to ireland with you , i said about the stamps as proof he just said again dont worry it s a common travel area , "so you wont stamp her back in "
    no we dont stamp from ireland ............... so she s been outside the UK but no ones interested in for how long
    no one checked her passport in dublin airport or back in manchester ...
    bangkok mags

  7. #7
    Old Hand มือเก่า BigRed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneAlanShearer View Post
    Hi Falcon

    I believe this is a big problem in terms of UK Border Control, you are right people are checked coming in but once here can seemingly then just vanish into the system, i had a "friend" a few years back a Filipina who came here on a Tourist visa for 6 months sponsored by her Auntie and ended up staying nearly 8 years working illegally...even those here on student visa's don't seem to be so well checked i have encountered many Filipino carers here the past 3-4 years who come to study NVQ or HND and then while limited to example working 20 hours per week reguarly work 70-80 hours per week and can seemingly work at will for recruitment agencies aside from sponsored employer, the whole thing seems a complete mess to me.
    I am probably being naive, but I thought they had tightened up on education visas a lot (University of Wales is a recent example) and also tightened up on employing people, such that the onus was on the employer to check that the employees had a right to work or face considerable fines and other sanctions.

    I doubt they have integrated all the computer systems yet, but the possibility exists. While the 'crime' of claiming benefits while living in Thailand strikes a chord, in reality is small beer and the cost of controlling it would probably be far exceeded by the cost of preventing it. While this is not an argument against it, you could argue that we pay benefits out without blinking, such as Eastern Europeans claiming benefits for their children still living in their home countries.

    Bear in mind that the NHS has never managed to integrate health records and people transfering doctors can wait up to 6 weeks for their records to catch up with them. I don't know what happens if a Surgery burns down. I've been to interviews with two NHS Trusts in the last 6 months for a contract IT job and been told up front that they are only offering around half the going rate, then both have been withdrawn because funding couldn't be obtained. The public sector have a terrible record for IT projects, and don't talk about the scale of the systems, I've worked for global banks which must have bigger demands than the NHS.

  8. #8
    Serial Poster ผู้โพสต์ต่อเนื่อง colin244's Avatar
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    A loophole which no doubt has been exploited by some foreigners.

    colin 244

  9. #9
    Premium Member Gary & Nok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by falcon999 View Post
    it appears the UK pretty much has no exit checks for anyone! True, having passport officers on exit at every British airport would be a considerable expense, and true, if someone's leaving the UK, it's not quite as important as checking them on entry.

    But, on the other hand, how do they police immigration?

    as it seems a rather big loophole in our border controls!
    I always have my passport checked when leaving the UK. It is not put in a system the same as when entering but is just looked at before entering the Departure Lounge.

    I think that it would be just as important to check people out of the country, it seems to me to be a massive problem that we don't what with the amount of overstayers that appear to be abusing their visas.

    Interesting that ian1208, never thought that the airline systems would be talking to the UKBA systems.
    On the other hand I don't think they can be what with the amount of overstayers in the country. Perhaps it would be better to have a full blown exit system and then it would flag up all those that have entered and not left before their visas expire.
    Champions 20|13

  10. #10
    Veteran ผู้มีประสบการณ์ ian1208's Avatar
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    Interesting that ian1208, never thought that the airline systems would be talking to the UKBA systems.
    On exit, all passenger details are supplied by airlines (API) and are put in the system.


    API;
    Advance Passenger Information (API)

    What is Advance Passenger Information?

    Advance Passenger Information is a requirement of several countries around the world to tighten-up who travels to their country. Passengers are required to provide a variety of information if flying to:
    [LIST=1][*]UK - from/to USA, UAE, Thailand, South Africa, Pakistan, Jamaica, Kenya, Iran, Syria, Morocco and others.
    Whats the information used for?
    The data is collected by the authorities of each country and used for law enforcement purposes.

    So I think they talk to each other.
    ian1208
    Last edited by ian1208; 24th Oct 2011 at 12:54.
    Judging others before you have met isn't a wise option.

  11. #11
    Serial Poster ผู้โพสต์ต่อเนื่อง colin244's Avatar
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    All these computers talk to each other.

    colin 244 (without smilies)

  12. #12
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    The actual situation regarding UK Immigration embarkation controls is as follows:- up to the mid-1990s there were IOs on embarkation controls at every port and airport in the UK. Rather like Thailand, we had a triangular stamp for departures, and embarkation cards had to be filled out by passengers who had been given a time-limited arrival stamp except for the standard visit stamp. Such departures were recorded. The system was phased out as a cost-saving measure ( they told us that the few million pounds saved would be devoted to beefing up the asylum process - we didn"t believe it even then).
    Fast-forward to about 6 or 7 years ago, and Parliament started asking awkward questions about the shambles that the asylum and enforcement systems had become - remember the Enforcement Director of the Immigration Service being asked by the Home Affairs Committee how many illegals and overstayers there were in the country? - and his reply? "I haven"t the faintest idea!". The realisation slowly dawned that of the huge backlog of asylum seekers they had no idea how many might have actually left the UK of their own accord. So, purely to boost the asylum and illegal/overstayer removal figures they started putting Assistant Immigration Officers (a new grade introduced about a dozen years ago to perform most of the same functions as an IO for a lot less money) on departures at several of the larger airports. Several times when I"ve been out through Terminal 3 at Heathrow I"ve had to show my passport at a desk just in front of the departure lounge. So when chummy who has overstayed in the UK for a couple of years turns up to catch his flight to go home he is held up by an IO/AIO who serves a notice on him that he is an overstayer and is required to leave the country - and bingo! another "removal" for the statistics, much easier than going out and looking for the ones who dont want to go home.
    There is still no system for recording those who enter and fail to depart. Whether this would be particularly effective is open to debate, although I would like to see more restrictions placed on the sponsors of those who do not comply with their conditions, by way of preventing them from further sponsorship.

  13. #13
    Veteran ผู้มีประสบการณ์ ian1208's Avatar
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    There is still no system for recording those who enter and fail to depart.
    I would disagree with this. The ‘visa’ becomes ‘active’ on arrival and is duly recorded by the powers that be.
    Most mobile phones have the capacity to collate even that information and come up with stats.
    I would suggest the REAL information is held from public view.
    But they know!
    Judging others before you have met isn't a wise option.

  14. #14
    Premium Member Gary & Nok's Avatar
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    Sorry Ian but this suggests otherwise
    UKBA estimates there may be 181,000 migrants still in the UK whose permission to remain has expired since December 2008. However, it cannot verify the numbers, and a lack of exit controls has made this more difficult.
    Champions 20|13

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ian1208 View Post
    I would disagree with this. The ‘visa’ becomes ‘active’ on arrival and is duly recorded by the powers that be.
    Most mobile phones have the capacity to collate even that information and come up with stats.
    I would suggest the REAL information is held from public view.
    But they know!
    Even if the visa is "activated" on arrival as you suggest, as there is no formal check-out system for those leaving the UK, they have no idea whether someone has left or not.

  16. #16
    Serial Poster ผู้โพสต์ต่อเนื่อง colin244's Avatar
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    And anyone with any sense would get out if they could which is directed at British Citizens

    colin 244

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    Quote Originally Posted by ian1208 View Post
    I would disagree with this. The ‘visa’ becomes ‘active’ on arrival and is duly recorded by the powers that be.
    Most mobile phones have the capacity to collate even that information and come up with stats.
    I would suggest the REAL information is held from public view.
    But they know!
    Having worked for "they", as 'Mellowsailor' has done, I can confirm that "they" don't know: there's no conspiracy or concealment.

    Even if "they" were to know of people's movements, that someone has not left the UK doesn't tell them where in the UK that person is. The systems "they" have will inform the IO whether you've ever noisily broken wind in a public area, or have an unpaid speeding ticket, but do little to identify individually nefarious immigration shenanigans.

    In the general absence of UK embarkation controls, it's not unheard of for a foreign national to stay in the UK for 6 months as a visitor, return to his home country and slip the receiving IO a few quid/baht/rupees/naira/cedis etc. to pre-date the arrival stamp so as to fraudulently reflect only a 2-week stay n the UK. The next day, he toddles off to the UK visa application centre and hands in another visit visa application, and repeats the whole process again.

    The whole system is flawed and is a charade.

  18. #18
    Serial Poster ผู้โพสต์ต่อเนื่อง colin244's Avatar
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    Which is why the UKBA is a farce i.e. make it as difficult as possible for legitimate people and let the rabble do what they like

    colin 244

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