Heathrow Immigration Meltdown – Hours-Long Delays


Passengers arriving at London Heathrow yesterday faced immigration delays of up to seven hours, and there have been long delays frequently.

Heathrow Airport blames insufficient staffing at the Border Force due to Covid-19 prevention measurements to process the incoming passengers.

Here’s an excerpt from the BBC:

Heathrow Airport said the government needed to make sure there were enough staff to cope with demand.

She told the BBC she began queuing to go through border control at 18:30 on Sunday evening, but did not get through until 01:30 on Monday.

Several passengers told the BBC that they had spent five, six or seven hours waiting at the border on Sunday evening with only a few border force officials processing their paperwork.

A worker in the immigration department at Heathrow, who asked not to be named, said the situation was chaotic. “It’s a mess. We cannot deploy without breaching health and safety measures. We are short staffed anyway. What are you meant to do?”

Staff at the border have also been told not to wear masks as they are processing passengers.

Heathrow Airport said: “When additional measures were implemented at the border, we were clear with the government that they must support the Border Force to ensure appropriate numbers of officials are on duty to minimise queuing in the Immigration Hall.


They should have a clear picture of the number of incoming passengers daily that need to be processed and documents checked. A mandatory hotel quarantine in place from select destinations makes the process much longer for some arrivals.

It shouldn’t be that difficult to know the exact number of border employees required to prevent these six to seven hour-long waits that are perfect for further spreading the Covid-19.

The piece from the BBC is worthwhile to read for anyone arriving in the UK shortly. Better be prepared for a long wait to clear the immigration.