London SE1 website team

Immigration controls to leave Waterloo

Full UK immigration controls on Eurostar services will move from London to Europe, following a deal between the UK and Belgium Governments.

The agreement builds on an earlier deal with Belgium and France and extends UK immigration controls to all Eurostar trains from Belgium to the UK.

Together with the Home Secretary's long standing deal with the French Government, the agreement moves all UK immigration controls on Eurostar passengers from London Waterloo station to stations in Europe. Immigration officers will be able to stop individuals with false, stolen or inadequate documents or those who do not have permission to enter the UK before they can board trains to Britain.

Home Office minister Des Browne said: "The agreement we have reached today is a significant step forward and our partnership with Belgium and France has been vital to this. I am grateful to Patrick Dewael and Dominique de Villepin for their co-operation.

"Our strategy of moving more border controls abroad is already paying dividends. At French Eurostar stations, introducing UK document checks has cut asylum applications at Waterloo by more than 90 per cent.

"Today's agreement with Belgium will enable us to move our controls from London Waterloo to Brussels, stopping would-be illegal immigrants before they set off for the UK.

"We are making it increasingly difficult for illegal immigrants to enter Britain by employing hi-tech scanning for clandestines at ferry ports in Belgium, France and Holland and improved security around the Channel Tunnel entrance. Our future plans to start electronic border controls at UK ports will further strengthen our borders.

"This work will complement the new measures that have just come into force to deal with rogue immigration advisers and asylum seekers who deliberately destroy their travel documents."

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