It is imperative to prepare and clarify fundamental changes in the flow of people between the European Union and the United States, which will take effect next year.House of Lords Justice and Home Affairs Committeehe said.

Today’s letter to the Home Secretary was published.Priti PatelThe committee refers to the two electronic systems the EU will apply to visa-holders starting next year.

The committee believes that the introduction of the Entry/Exit System and the European Travel Information and Authorisation System will have a significant impact on both businesses and citizens. It also raises a number of logistical, legal and political issues.

The committee also highlighted other concerns, such as the lack of public awareness about these systems, delays at border for private and commercial travellers, profiling of UK citizens and security checks, and the possibility that some UK citizens may lose their right of travel to the EU.

The following questions were posed to the Home secretary:

  • What disruption can the Home Office anticipate in the aftermath of the launch of EES/ETIAS?
  • How does the Home Office assess the preparedness of those affected by the EES/ETIAS launch?
  • How can the system make sure that applicants are aware they are being profiled by automatically comparing their data with “standard profiles”, which are individuals who are deemed high-risk for illegal immigration or an epidemic risk?
  • What safeguards are in place to ensure that ETIAS is not misused by EU or non-EU authorities to restrict the rights of UK citizens?
  • What security measures will you use to protect confidential information?
  • What level of control will the UK citizens have over the European Union’s data collection, how it will be stored and the use it will make?
  • How will the Government ensure that applicants who may pose a risk to security, public health or illegal immigration are assessed lawfully and non-discriminatorily?

Baroness HamweeThe chair of the committee stated that “in 2019 alone, UK residents crossed into Europe close to 67 millions times.” Residents will face delays and queues when the EES launches. ETIAS will likely require UK citizens submit detailed applications. The lengthy application process may take several months, and the final outcome might not be known. We are concerned about the lack of information available. It is unclear how these systems will function, how they will impact society, and how many people will be aware.

“The EES and ETIAS will, by design, collect and store personal information on UK citizens. ETIAS will use “screening rules” in order to determine whether an applicant is at high risk of becoming an illegal immigrant or a high epidemic risk. It is likely that some UK citizens won’t be allowed to travel to Europe.

“My committee today requested clarifications and additional information from the Home Secretary on a variety of issues. Insufficient preparation can mean that essential support and safeguards are not available in time for travellers. This could prevent them from booking holiday packages at the last moment or from attending important events such as a funeral, job interview or religious ceremony.

“We hope the questions we asked today will provide a framework for Home Office to examine the multiple issues involved with the launch of these systems, and aid a smooth transition with minimal disruption.”