Britain must boost number of border guards by March 2019 to cope with Brexit, officials warn
Britain will have to massively increase its number of border guards by March next year in order to cope with Brexit, MPs were warned yesterday.
Former immigration enforcement chief David Wood said he fears it will be “impossible” for Britain to be prepared for Brexit by 2019.
He said staff would need to be hired 12 months before Britain leaves the EU to make sure staff are properly vetted and trained.
Mr Wood told the Home Affairs Select Committee: “I don’t think under current resources the challenge of Brexit can be met - and certainly not smoothly.”
He said the UK's Border Force will seem like a ball-chasing “football team of 9 year-olds” without the extra staff.
“With Brexit the EU essentially becomes the rest of the world. That places additional pressure on the borders given the time taken to process each individual – considerable pressure,” he added.
“I fear it may be nearly impossible to be ready by 2019.”
The ex-chief inspector of Borders and Immigration John Vine told MPs that the three million EU citizens already in the UK were creating an “unprecedented bureaucratic challenge”.
Border Force numbers fell from 7,911 to 7,670 in 2016-2017, according to the Home Office.
Earlier this year, the general secretary of the Borders, Immigration and Customs Union Lucy Moreton revealed London City Airport is the only place in the UK that does not have any Border Force vacancies.
She said: “Britain’s borders aren’t secure."