UK immigration to expand Biometric Residence Permits for immigrants

Fri, 2012-03-02 04:26 PM
UK Immigration is aiming to double the number of immigrants who will need to have a biometric residence permit (BRP) to remain in the UK. This will raise the number of individuals required to have a BRP to around 400,000 a year.

The UK is expanding the biometric system to require all applicants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) applying to stay in the UK for more than 6 months to register their fingerprints and digital facial image. Successful applicants will be issued a biometric residence permit as evidence of immigration status and entitlements in the UK. This includes refugees and those granted settlement.

The biometric permits store an individual's fingerprints and photograph on a secure chip. This data can then be used to obtain information concerning an immigrant's work rights and benefits status.

"The move is aimed at reducing UK Immigration abuse by proving people's right to work or access services. 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 UK Immigration Minister Damian Green.

Beginning June 2012, an online service known as the Employers' Checking Service for BRP's, will allow UK employers to check on potential immigrant employees to find out if they are eligible to work or access benefit schemes in the UK.

Since BRP's were introduced in 2008, over 650,000 permits have been issued. The majority of these permits have gone to Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 5, and Tier 4 student visa holders from outside the European Economic Area (this includes the EU) who have applied for a visa for the UK.

The UK Post Office will provide a service for applicants to provide their biometric information throughout a network of locations across the UK. They hope to have 87 sites in operation by mid-April 2012 to gather fingerprints, digital photographs and electronic signatures which is then provided via a secure network to the UK Border Agency. The Post Office will also set up a mobile fingerprint enrolment service.

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