Australian passports
Australian passports

Australians will soon be able to go through UK immigration faster. Chancellor to the Exchequer Philip Hammond has announced that Australian passport holders would be able to use the e-passport gates at UK international airports to “send a message loud and clear to the rest of the world that Britain is open for business.”

On Monday, Mr Hammond delivered the UK’s budget at the House of Commons with a little surprise for Aussies, Kiwis, Canadians, Japanese and Americans. The British MP said the e-gates at Heathrow airport and others would be open to visitors from certain countries starting next year.

“We’ll open the use of e-passport gates at Heathrow and other airports, currently only available to EEA nationals, to include visitors from the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan,” Hammond said.

With Brexit talks dividing the UK, the Government is said to be trying to strengthen its ties with Australia, New Zealand, Canada, US and Japan in preparation for Britain’s exit from the European Union on March 29 next year. With the exception of Japan, the four countries and the UK are part of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance that are parties to multilateral UKUSA Agreement. As some commenters have noted, it would just make sense to make travelling to the UK faster for its allied nations.

As for Japan, it has recently surpassed Singapore as the most powerful passport in 2018. Japanese passport holders don’t need visa to visit 190 jurisdictions in the world.