Hundreds of volunteers will staff passport controls during the Olympics
The Home Office has announced plans to bring in over 500 volunteers a week to reduce delays at border controls during the Games.
The volunteers will receive four days of training and mentoring on how to manage passport checks at ports and airports which are expected to receive nearly 700,000 visitors arriving in the UK for the Games. They will form part of the Home Office's 'Critical Incident Coverage' plan and will also be posted at UK border controls in Calais, Dunkirk and Paris.
Volunteers are being recruited from retired immigration officers along with those that have recently been made redundant and a budget of £2.5m has been made available to cover their expenses such as travel and accommodation. The volunteers will support the paid staff team who have had all leave cancelled during the Games.
The plan is an emergency measure to help tackle the growing problem of delays at UK border controls where both UK and foreign visitors have had to face queues of up to two hours. The Government have been under increasing pressure to deal with the problem largely due to the cut in immigration control jobs which will total 1,500 by 2015 since the Coalition took office in 2010.
The Immigration Minister Damian Green said "We recognise the need to minimise disruption while we secure the border, which is why from today our preperations for managing summer traffic at airports comes into effect."