THE Isle of Man Government is proposing a series of measures to enable the Island to be included inside the United Kingdom’s e-border, its new electronic border security system.
The move would mean that air and sea routes between the Island and the United Kingdom would not be subject to the screening of all travellers under the e-border regime. The e-border system is designed to give the United Kingdom a secure virtual frontier, using technology to monitor everyone entering and leaving the country to help detect criminals, illegal immigrants and terrorists.
If the Isle of Man’s legislation was not compatible with the UK system, placing the Island outside the e-border, the UK authorities could eventually require carriers to provide advance information on all passengers travelling between the Island and the UK. This information would be derived from passports or UK ID cards. If the Isle of Man was within the UK e-border, the routine gathering of such information would only be required in relation to direct routes between the Island and places outside the United Kingdom, excluding the Channel Islands, but eventually including the Irish Republic.
Chief Minister Tony Brown MHK explained:
The Council of Ministers has already agreed in principle that the Isle of Man should be included within the e-border. The next step will be to seek Tynwald approval for the extension to the Island of the Immigration (Isle of Man) (Amendment) Order 2010, which strengthens existing requirements for carriers to provide information and for agencies to share information likely to be useful for immigration, police or customs purposes, subject to codes of practice on the sharing and use of such information.‘Given that the British Government is continuing to strengthen its electronic border around the United Kingdom, the main question for the Isle of Man is whether we should be on the inside or the outside of the e-border. The Isle of Man Government’s view is that to maintain current travel arrangements between the Island and the UK, we need to be on the inside of the e-border and should take the necessary steps to allow that to happen.’
In due course it is proposed there will also be a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Isle of Man and the UK governing the sharing of relevant information between the two countries, and the production of more detailed regulations. Both the MOU and the regulations will also be published in due course with an opportunity for the public to submit comments.