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Home Office to register biometrics of foreign nationals in UK

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The Home Office is considering the possibility of compelling foreign nationals in the UK to register their biometrics.

It said the power would be introduced on a rolling basis and would build on biometric IDs for foreign nationals, which will be introduced from 2008. The policy would target groups such as migrant workers seeking to extend their stay in the UK.

A Home Office spokesperson told GC News that, under regulations due to come into full effect by 2008, a biometric ID is required for people who are applying for a visa to enter the UK, and those living in the country who are applying for further leave to stay. The Home Office is considering extending the requirement to those who have a permanent right of residence.

This would require further legislation in Parliament if the Home Office decides to go ahead.

Biometric ID visas are currently issued at 42 posts overseas. It is planned that by 2008 the process will be in place for everyone outside the Euopean Economic Area nations who are coming to the UK to work, study or stay for longer than six months, plus anyone visiting from the 108 visa nations.

Immigration minister Liam Byrne said: "We're determined that Britain won't be a soft touch for illegal immigration. Compulsory biometric identity for foreign nationals will help us secure our borders, shut down access to the illegal jobs, which we know attracts illegal immigrants, and help fight foreign criminals.

"The technology is already making a difference, stopping illegal immigrants returning to Britain once they've been deported, helping trusted travellers pass securely through our borders and cutting down abuse of the asylum system."

The announcement was made along with the publication of the Borders, Immigration and Identity Action Plan.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

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