Government Expands Use Of ePassport Gates To 7 More Countries

Eligible travellers from 7 non-EU countries can now use ePassport gates to enter the UK quickly and securely in changes being made to the border

Parliament Street

Parliament Street

From today (Monday 20 May), visitors from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States will be able to use ePassport gates at ports across the UK and juxtaposed controls in a move designed to speed up border controls for low-risk countries.

There were over 10 million arrivals in the UK by nationals from these countries in 2017.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:

Our new global immigration and border system will improve security and fluidity for passengers coming to visit or work in the UK.

Expanding the use of ePassport gates is a key part of this and allows us to improve the passenger experience of those arriving in the UK while keeping our border secure.

The new system will help to drive our economy, cement our reputation as a global leader and send a clear message to the world – the UK is open for business.

The change means the Government has delivered early on the commitment made in the Spring Statement, where the Chancellor announced that nationals from these seven countries would be able to use ePassport gates from June.

ePassport gates have been available to British and EU nationals since 2008. EU nationals will remain eligible to use them once the UK leaves the EU.

Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association Karen Dee said:

As airports prepare for the busy summer months, we know that no one likes to wait long in a queue for passport control. That is why airports work closely with Border Force to ensure the border is welcoming, while maintaining the UK’s security.

Enabling more passengers to use ePassport gates is an important next step in our joint efforts to enhance the welcome at the border. It will demonstrate the UK is open for business, tourism and visiting friends and relatives. It will also free up Border Force officers for other duties, improving the experience of all passengers.

Additionally, the Government is removing the need for all non-EEA travellers to fill in landing cards upon arrival in the UK, making for a smoother entry to the country.

The move will reduce the burden on passengers while maintaining the UK’s border security, as exactly the same security checks will be in place.

The UK is already a world leader in automated passenger clearance, allowing more nationalities to use ePassport gates than anywhere else. In the year ending September 2018, 51.9 million passengers used them across the UK and juxtaposed controls.

The gates use facial recognition technology to compare the passenger’s face to the digital image recorded in their passport. They are monitored by Border Force officers and anyone rejected at the gates will be sent to a manned passport check to have their identity and passport checked.

The gates can be used by those aged 18 and over, and who are travelling using a biometric or ‘chipped’ passport. Those aged 12 to 17, and who are accompanied by an adult, are also able to use them.

There are currently 264 ePassport gates in operation at 15 air and rail terminals in the UK and juxtaposed controls.

Australian Nationals Can Now Use ePassport Gates To Enter The UK

Eligible travellers from Australia can now use ePassport gates to enter the UK quickly and securely

E-Passport gates at UK border

E-Passport gates at UK border

Australia nationals aged 18 and over, and who are travelling using a biometric or ‘chipped’ passport, will be able to use the automated e-passport gates. Visitors aged 12 to 17-years-old, and who are accompanied by an adult, are also able to use them.

The UK is already a world leader in automated passenger clearance, allowing more nationalities to use ePassport gates than anywhere else.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:

Our new global immigration and border system will improve security and fluidity for passengers coming to visit or work in the UK.

Expanding the use of ePassport gates is a key part of this and allows us to improve passenger experience arriving in the UK while keeping our border secure.

I’m delighted that Australian nationals will benefit from their use and have a smooth beginning to their visit to our country.

The Government is also removing the need for travellers from Australia and all other non-EEA countries to fill in landing cards upon arrival in the UK, making for a smoother entry to the country.

Non-EEA passengers are currently required to complete a landing card and present it to an immigration officer.

There were 1.4 million arrivals in the UK of Australian nationals in 2017.

Allowing Australian nationals to use ePassport gates will have a positive impact on their border experience, providing them with faster entry to the UK.

ePassport gates use facial recognition technology to compare the passenger’s face to the digital image recorded in the passport.

They are monitored by UK Border Force officers and anyone rejected at the gates will be sent to a manned channel to have their identity and passport checked.

In the year ending September 2018, 51.9 million passengers used them across the UK and juxtaposed controls.

The expansion of ePassport gates is part of the UK’s vision of a new global border and immigration system that makes better use of data and technology to improve security and fluidity across the border.

More Support To Help Employers Offer T Level Industry Placements

Education Secretary unveils a new package of measures so employers can provide the heart of T Levels

The Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP

The Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP

The industry placement is a critical part of the T Level qualification giving young people the chance to gain vital hands on workplace experience in their chosen profession Education Secretary Damian Hinds has said today, as he unveils a new package of support for employers.

More than 200 businesses including leading firms like Fujitsu and GlaxoSmithKline, are already backing these landmark reforms – working with the Government to help design the new T Level course content so they provide young people with the skills industry value.

A unique part of a T Level will be the completion of a high-quality industry placement – of at least 315 hours, or approximately 45 days – where students will build the knowledge and skills they need in a workplace environment.

The package of support announced today follows extensive consultation with employers and further education providers and directly reflects their feedback to help make sure more employers can offer these vital placements in readiness for the T Level rollout in September 2020.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

The completion of a high-quality industry placement will be at the heart of every T Level and is part of what will set these new courses apart from every attempt to reform technical and vocational education in the past 70 years.

To make a success of T Levels, we need businesses working in partnership with us and colleges. Industry placements will help young people build the confidence and skills they need to get a head start in their careers and they’ll help businesses maximise their talent pipeline for the future.

This new package of support is designed to help ensure we can deliver high-quality placements for every T Level student from 2020.

The package includes:

  • New guidance to support employers and providers to offer tailored placements that suit their workplace and the needs of young people – such as offering placements opportunities with up to 2 employers and to accommodate students with part time jobs or caring responsibilities
  • Ahead of the roll-out of the first three T Levels in September 2020 – a new £7 million pilot scheme to explore ways to help cover the costs associated with hosting a young person in their workplace such as equipment and protective clothing.
  • Bespoke ‘how to’ guides, workshops and practical hands-on support for employers – designed alongside industry bodies to make it as easy as possible for them to offer placements.

T Levels represent the biggest shake up to technical education in a generation. To support the development and delivery of industry placements, the Government has already provided nearly £60 million in funding and worked with around 400 further education providers and over 2,000 employers including Marriott and Warren Services to identify the best ways of delivering them. Around 1,550 students took part in placement opportunities last year with thousands more placements underway this academic year (18/19).

Industry placements will provide businesses with an opportunity to attract a diverse range of talent and build the skilled workforce they need for the future.

Matthew Fell, CBI Chief UK Policy Director, said:

There has long been a need for an increase in prestigious technical options after GCSEs that parents, teachers, and businesses understand. This package of measures to help employers deliver placements is welcome, because if T Levels are going to be a success they will require long-term commitment from Government. Support will be most needed for small and medium-sized businesses, so special attention should be paid to these firms.

David Hughes from the Association of Colleges (AoC) said:

AoC is delighted that the Department has responded to college voices advising how best to support successful Industry Placements as an integral part of T Levels. The new flexibilities directly address our concerns about students with caring responsibilities and part time work. The new approach will allow more young people to study for a T Level and benefit from a placement.

Jane Gratton, Head of People Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

Business has long called for a high-quality vocational alternative to the A Levels to ensure young people are work-ready and have greater technical skills and knowledge when they join the workforce. T level industry placements are crucial to developing these enhanced skills, and the greater support and flexibility will enable firms of all sizes to open their doors to young people, introduce them to the exciting careers on offer in the local area, and identify a great pipeline of future talent.

The first three T Levels for Digital, Education and Construction will be first taught from September 2020. A further seven will to be taught from 2021, including three in Health and Science, with a further 15 coming onboard from 2022 onwards in sectors such as legal, financial and accounting, engineering and manufacturing, and creative & design.

To support the further education sector to deliver the new T Level courses, the Government will provide an additional half a billion pounds every year once they are all fully rolled out. The Government is also investing £20 million to help prepare the sector for the introduction of T Levels. This includes the £5 million Taking Teaching Further programme, which aims to attract more industry experts to work in the sector, and the £8 million T Level Professional Development offer to help teachers and staff prepare for the roll-out of the new qualifications.

Find out more about industry placements here.

Government Delivers New £10m Fund To Plant Over 130,000 Urban Trees

Environment Secretary Michael Gove announces grants will be made available over the next two years to green town and city spaces

Urban Trees

Urban Trees

A new £10 million plan will see more than 130,000 trees planted across England’s towns and cities, Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced today.

Through the Urban Tree Challenge Fund, grants will be made available over the next two years to green urban areas and help meet the government’s target to plant one million urban trees by 2022.

Planting more trees is crucial in the fight against climate change, because trees store carbon and can help make our towns and cities more resilient. Trees in urban areas improve health and wellbeing, connect people with the outdoors, absorb noise, reduce flood risk, lower temperatures through shading, and create green spaces for communities to come together.

The scheme, which will be administered by the [Forestry Commission[(https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/forestry-commission), will be open to individuals, local authorities, charities and NGOs. Grants will fund the planting of trees and the first three years of their care to ensure they can flourish into the future.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:

Trees are vital in the fight against climate change, which is why we must go further and faster to increase planting rates.

We need trees lining the streets of our cities and towns, not only to green and shade them but to ensure that we remain connected to the wonders of the natural world and the health and wellbeing benefits that it brings us.

Government Tree Champion Sir William Worsley said:

Trees are the lifeblood of our nation, and it is more important than ever to ensure they are rooted not only in our countryside, but in our towns and cities too.

The benefits of planting urban trees are endless, and I encourage anyone with the ability to apply for this fund to get involved and help green our towns and cities.

The grant will be delivered as a challenge fund, and therefore requires match funding from those who apply.

The scheme will support projects which can provide the greatest environmental and social benefits, and applications will be processed by the Forestry Commission. A map will be available to check eligibility before applying.

Forestry Commission Chair Sir Harry Studholme said:

I am delighted the Forestry Commission have been asked to deliver the Urban Tree Challenge Fund. The fund is an important part of the work that the Forestry Commission is doing to expand England’s tree and woodland cover.

It allows us to plant more trees much closer to where people live and work, and where the many benefits of trees make the most difference. We look forward to lots of new planting happening this Autumn.

Chair of England’s Community Forests and Director of The Mersey Forest, Paul Nolan said:

There is an increasing understanding of the role that trees and woodlands play in helping to make our towns and cities better places for people and nature to thrive.

We need to be planting many more trees over the next 25 years, and England’s Community Forests welcome this new investment that is being announced by the government.

The launch of the fund forms part of the government’s Year of Green Action, a year-long drive to help people to connect with, protect and enhance nature. This commitment forms part of the government’s 25 Year Environment Planto instill a legacy for the future, with a focus on children and young people.

Earlier this year the government consulted on a raft of forestry measureswhich included proposals to ensure communities have their say on whether street trees should be felled, with legislation to be brought forward later this year.

The government is committed to growing woodland cover, and this year we will consult on a new English Tree Strategy to accelerate woodland creation and introduce a flagship Environment Bill to address the biggest environmental priorities of our age.

The fund will be open this week for applications.

Funding Granted For New Global Platform To Protect Children From Online Abuse

The Global Fund to End Violence Against Children has awarded the Marie Collins Foundation £635,000 to support its work to protect children from online abuse

Home Office

Home Office

A £635,000 investment from a Home Office-led consortium has been awarded to The Marie Collins Foundation (MCF), to support its vital work to help children who have been sexually abused online.

MCF has developed the Global Protection Online Network (GPON), a programme to help countries take steps to respond to the threat of online child sexual abuse and exploitation (CSEA).

GPON will help train safeguarding professionals to develop best practice on how to intervene in CSEA cases, including new guidelines and help to design new legislative measures. This will go alongside ongoing targeted interventions such as training and consultancy from MCF for professionals who work with young people and give access to an online portal for knowledge sharing, advice and research updates.

The £635,000 has been provided by the Global Fund to End Violence Against Children (EVAC) – of which the Home Office is the major donor.

Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, Victoria Atkins said:

The Marie Collins Foundation do invaluable work in providing support for victims and survivors of online child sexual abuse. Providing guidance and resources for governments to tackle this sickening crime will make a huge impact in stamping it out at source.

Child sexual exploitation is a global problem and one which requires a global response. The government is absolutely committed to tackling this horrific abuse wherever it occurs and we are working closely with governments and organisations across the world to protect children from harm.

Founder and CEO of the Marie Collins Foundation, Professor Tink Palmer MBE, said:

We are thrilled to have been awarded this funding, which will allow us to activate GPON and begin to have real impact on the global community enabling colleagues to do more to protect their children through new knowledge, resources and infrastructure.

Our vision is to ensure that all children who suffer abuse via the internet and mobile technology are able to recover and live safe and fulfilling lives. The nature of the internet means that the sexual abuse of children online is a global problem yet currently the service response is ad hoc, ill-informed and sparse.

Our unique portal will enable the international professional community to share knowledge, gain advice and have access to the most recent research, as well as training materials and templates for relevant policy, legal and practice guidance developments.

The MCF will work in partnership with other NGOs in priority countries. Vietnam has been identified as the first country that will receive bespoke support through training for professionals in how best to help children who are sexually abused online. Vietnam is recognised as a prominent source country for children trafficked for sexual purposes, while online child sexual exploitation is also a growing concern.

The EVAC grant will be used to employ staff to lead and manage the GPONplatform and ensure safeguarding professionals across the globe have access to its resources and to develop training programmes.

During a speech in September, the Home Secretary set out that it was his “mission” to help eradicate CSEA, including children being abused on live streams around the world.

In the speech, he said that children were often abused to order, sometimes for as little as £12.

In addition to the End Violence Against Children fund, the Home Office is a leading member of the WePROTECT Global Alliance, a global movement that brings together the influence, expertise and resources required to transform how online child sexual exploitation is dealt with worldwide.

The WePROTECT Global Alliance is driven and funded by the UK Home Office and forms a key element of our international response to this crime. 87 countries are members of the alliance along with 20 global technology companies and 25 leading Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), including the Marie Collins Foundation. The Home Office has also secured £2 million funding from the 2018 to 2020 Commonwealth Fund to fund capacity building projects in Commonwealth countries to tackle online child sexual exploitation.

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