Foreign nationals who wish to stay in the UK will be issued with a compulsory biometric ID card within a year, the home office minister, Liam Byrne, said today.
The scheme is one of 10 measures announced today that aims to tighten control of the presence and movement of foreigners in the UK.
Announcing the 10-point plan, Byrne said the government aimed
• within 15 days to check fingerprints before a visa is issued anywhere in the world
• within 60 days to introduce on-the-spot fines for employers who do not make the correct right-to-work checks
• within 80 days to begin the introduction of a new points system for managing migration
• within 100 days to introduce a single border force and police-like powers for frontline staff
• within 180 days to confirm the number of foreign national prisoners deported in 2008 will exceed 2007
• within 200 days to activate powers to automatically deport foreign national prisoners
• within 300 days to expand detention capacity
• within 330 days to begin issuing compulsory ID cards for those foreign nationals who want to stay
• by Christmas to begin counting foreign nationals in and out of the country and to introduce compulsory watch-list checks for high risk journeys before they land, and
• within 360 days to make and enforce 60% of asylum decisions within six months, with alternatives to detention for children.
Byrne said the government has taken biometric fingerprints from more than one million people. So far 10,000 visa applicants have been identified who have previously been fingerprinted in the UK in connection with immigration cases or asylum applications.