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Foreign national ID roll out speeds up (24/09/2009)

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#1 newlight



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Posted 25 September 2009 - 10:26 PM


Foreign national ID roll out speeds up (24/09/2009)

Skilled migrants renewing their visas to stay in the UK will be issued with an ID card from the New Year the Home Secretary Alan Johnson announced today, three months ahead of schedule.

From January 2010 skilled foreign workers under Tier 2 of the Points Based System (PBS) will be issued ID cards. This brings the roll out forward from April 2010 and will add around 30,000 foreign nationals a year to those currently being issued with identity cards.

Since their introduction 90,000 cards have been issued, mainly to students renewing their visa under Tier 4 of the PBS and those renewing marriage visas.

Today’s announcement means that in addition to accelerating the roll out to include foreign nationals in the UK renewing their right to stay under Tier 2, the Government has exceeded its target to issue 75,000 cards by November 2009.

The UK Border Agency is also to trial technology at 17 Crown Post Offices to provide foreign nationals applying for identity cards with alternative and more accessible venues where they can enrol their fingerprints. The trials will start rolling out from October.

The Home Secretary said:

“Identity cards have been issued to 90,000 foreign nationals, exceeding our target by 15,000, a month ahead of schedule.

By speeding up the roll out of the cards more people will benefit from a secure and simple way to prove they are entitled to live, work or study here and it will prevent those here illegally from benefiting from the privileges of Britain.

Our partnership with the Post Office will provide vital extra capacity enabling the UK Border Agency to further speed up the enrolment process and give extra work to help safeguard the Post Office network. It will also give more choice and convenience to migrants about where they can enrol.”

Identity cards for foreign nationals who came to the UK from outside the European Economic Area were introduced in November 2008. They require them to have their photograph and fingerprints taken, securely locking them to one identity and helping foreign nationals prove their right to live and work in the UK and businesses to crack down on illegal working.

Skilled migrants and temporary workers under Tiers 1 and 5 of the PBS, will also be brought forward from 2011 to 2010.

From October foreign nationals who are being issued with ID Cards will be given the choice of providing their fingerprints and photograph at one of the participating Crown Post Offices for a fee of £8 or at one of the UK Border Agency or Identity and Passport Service Offices currently included within the scheme, which will remain free.

The Post Office will not be making decisions on whether someone can stay in the UK and detailed checking of enrolment details will continue to be conducted by the UK Border Agency. It provides extra capacity for the UK Border Agency and gives customers an alternative for enrolment.

Alan Cook, Managing Director of the Post Office, said:

“The Post Office is very pleased to be supporting this trial as our reputation for trust and the unparalleled reach of our network means we can offer secure and efficient transfer of personal data while the potential for earning additional income would help support and sustain the nationwide branch network.”

Regulations setting out the next stage of the roll out of Identity Cards for Foreign Nationals will be laid in Parliament in October.

For more information, see the Indentity cards for foreign nationals section on the UK Border Agency website.

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