Government expands biometric identity scheme

The government has doubled the number of people that will be forced to hold biometric proof that they can live in the UK.

The government has doubled the number of people that will be forced to hold biometric proof that they can live in the UK.

A total of 400,000 people will hold Biometric Residence Permits (BRP), which hold a person’s fingerprints and photograph on a secure chip, as the government attempts to reduce the abuse of rights to work and use public services.

The system now includes refugees and those given the right to live here permanently, meaning all non-EEA nationals applying to remain in the UK for more than six months will have to hold the permits.

In June, an online a service for employers to check BRPs will enable employers, and later in the year public authorities, to run real-time checks on whether individuals are eligible to work or access services in the UK.

“This will help ensure only those with the right to be here can take a job legally in the UK and enjoy the services to which they are entitled,” said immigration minister, Damian Green. “The new measures are a deterrent to all foreign nationals who are looking to exploit the UK for personal gain by breaking the law.”

The Post Office will support the expansion in BRP applications by rolling out a nationwide network of biometric enrolment sites. A total of 17 sites already enable foreign nationals to have fingerprints and photographs taken and 87 additional Post Offices will offer the service by mid-April.

The Post Office will also operate a mobile fingerprint enrolment service.

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