Aussies To Be Fast Tracked Through British Airports

Australian passport holders will soon join Europeans in using the U.K.'s ePassport gates.

In the same year Britain withdraws from the European Union, it will boost its relationship with countries like Australia via a relaxed immigration process.

From 2019, the U.K. will allow visitors from five nations in addition to the EEA [European Economic Area] fast-tracked entry through electronic gates at its airports.

The announcement was made by the Chancellor to the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, as he delivered the Budget at the House of Commons on Tuesday.

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"We'll open the use of ePassport gates at Heathrow and other airports, currently only available to EEA nationals, to include visitors from the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan," Hammond said.

The Budget outlined the move would "enhance the border experience" for business and leisure travellers from the selected countries to Britain.

Australia's High Commissioner to the UK, George Brandis, tweeted his team had been "working towards this for some time".

The development "would send a message loud and clear to the rest of the world that Britain is open for business," Hammond stated.

Almost one million Australians visited the U.K. last year and 62 percent of them will make a repeat trip within 10 years, according to VisitBritain.org.

Around 24 airlines now offer one-stop routes from Australia to the U.K., with Qantas operating a direct, daily service from March this year.

Britain will exit the European Union in March next year, following a June 2016 referendum where 52 percent of British voters supported leaving the EU.

Featured image: Getty Images

Contact the author: samelia@networkten.com.au