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Fingerprint checks on foreigners at border controls will begin at the end of November, says the UK Border Agency.

In addition to usual checks at UK border controls, from 30 November 2009 overseas nationals arriving in the country will have their fingerprints scanned.

All passengers with biometric UK visas, entry clearances and identity cards for foreign nationals will undergo the new procedure.

"The purpose of these checks is to verify that the individual entering the United Kingdom is the same person who gave their biometrics when they applied for their visa, entry clearance or identity card for foreign nationals," said the UK Border Agency in a statement. "Using fingerprints enables us to do this with greater certainty."

The change comes on the same day as identity cards for UK nationals are launched. In response to parliamentary written questions, Home Office minister Meg Hillier said that 1,107 people had voluntarily applied for identity cards by 24 November. The applicants were from Greater Manchester, London and airside workers at Manchester and London City airports.

She also said that 2,445 people in Greater Manchester have "expressed an interest in continuing to be updated about the National Identity Service via the Early Interest Website". 749 Mancunians have made an appointment to enrol for an identity card out of 1.7 million who are eligible, she added.

The announcements came as the role of the Identity and Passport Service has been clarified in a Home Office document setting out its strategic objectives, responsibilities and lines of accountability.

This article was originally published at Kable.

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