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Home secretary Alan Johnson has asked the UK Border Agency to look at speeding up the issuing of identity cards to foreign nationals.

As part of the change of plans for the National Identity Scheme, Johnson has asked the agency to review its implementation programme. It has already issued 50,000 cards to people legally working in the UK, and plans to provide them to all foreigners from outside in the European Economic Area (EEA), if they are staying for more than six months, in the next three years.

A spokesperson for the UK Border Agency told GC News that no details are available on its reaction or when it is due to report back to the home secretary.

Philippe Martin, senior analyst at Kable, commented: "It is feasible that they can do this because it only concerns people from outside the EU, and there are not that many of them. It should not take too long, especially as most of the relevant people will already have visas."

The government has made a priority of issuing the cards to non-EEA nationals in an effort to combat illegal working.

Earlier this week it was reported that Johnson has cancelled plans to make the identity card compulsory for airside workers in UK airports, but is encouraging voluntary take-up, especially among young people as a proof of age.

An independent identity commissioner will be appointed in the near future to oversee the National Identity Service, but compulsory identity cards for foreign nationals will continue to be overseen by the information commissioner and the chief inspector of the UK Border Agency.

This article was originally published at Kable.

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