Feeds

Biometrics tackle immigration abuse

Fingerprint visas 'first line of defence'

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Fingerprint visas are becoming a first line of defence against illegal immigration, according to the Home Office.

The Home Office said it has taken more than half a million sets of fingerprints from visa applicants, equivalent to a set checked every 30 seconds, since the programme began last year.

"New fingerprint visas are fast becoming our first line of defence against illegal immigration," said Home Office minister Liam Byrne.

"By collecting fingerprint information on foreign nationals coming to the UK in advance of their journey, we are building a new overseas border control which is flushing out the false visa applicants."

Compulsory fingerprinting, which began in September 2006, is now part of the UK visa application process in just under half of the world's countries. It will cover around three quarters of the world's population once finished.

Fingerprints are taken as part of the visa application process and are then checked against UK government records to identify if the individual is already known to the immigration authorities.

Once in the UK the authorities can use the same data to check if someone is eligible to work, or to help re-issue travel documents if they are lost or destroyed.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office minister Dr Kim Howells said: "Recording biometric information allows us to fix an individual's identity at the earliest point practicable and track their future dealings with the UK."

The Home Office has highlighted a number of cases in which fingerprinting has helped immigration officers.

In one case a Sudanese businessman applied for a visa to come to the UK, claiming he wanted to go to the UK for shopping and tourism. Although he declared that he had not travelled to the UK before or ever been deported, a biometric check showed a failed asylum claim in 2004 under a different identity. His visa application was refused.

UKvisas, a joint directorate of the Home Office and Foreign & Commonwealth Office, is currently collaborating with several European countries in pilots on joint biometric capture.

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.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.