ID cards for foreigners – applications started

Preventing identity fraud and proving right to work

25 November 2008. Foreign nationals will begin applying for identity cards today, has announced the UK Border Agency. The first ID cards will be issued to people from outside the European Economic Area, making applications to remain in the UK as a student or based on marriage.

Also, identity cards will be issued for British workers in sensitive roles and locations in 2009 and to young people in 2010.

All new foreign nationals and those extending their stay will have a card within three years. It is estimated that by the end of 2014/15 about 90 per cent of all foreign nationals will have been issued with one.

The UKBA considers the new documents will help secure the UK’s borders by improving immigration control and reduce identity abuses; facial image and fingerprints are taken to securely lock them to one identity and help businesses crack down on illegal working.

Over the next three weeks enrolment identity card centres for foreign nationals will open in Cardiff, Glasgow, Northern Ireland, Sheffield, Solihull and Liverpool.

Companies will have to keep records of the migrants they have sponsored – including their contact details and a copy of their identity card.

Tom Hadley, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s Director of External Relations, said:
"Recruitment professionals working in the frontline of the UK labour market play an increasingly pivotal role in checking the identity, background and status of individual job seekers. We welcome the extensive communication programme which has accompanied the introduction of this card. We need to ensure that all those verifying ID are aware of the appearance of the new card. Recruiters take their responsibility to validate an individual’s right to work in the UK extremely seriously and support initiatives that enhance safe and ethical recruitment."

Julian Gravatt, Association of Colleges Director of Funding and Development, said: "Issuing ID cards to overseas students should assist in the reduction of identity fraud. Colleges welcome any measure which facilitates the recruitment of genuine students to study in the UK and the economic benefits this brings."

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said:
"In time identity cards for foreign nationals will replace paper documents."

"The Australian-style points system will ensure only those we need – and no more – can come here. It is also flexible, allowing us to raise or lower the bar according to the needs of business and taking population trends into account."

Later this week stringent new rules to bring in workers to the UK through Tiers 2 and 5 of the points system will also begin. This Thursday, 27 November, Tiers 2 and 5 of the points system will go live. From this date employers who have registered with the UK Border Agency will be able to bring in migrant workers from outside European Economic Area (EEA) under the scheme.

Under Tier 2 companies must pass the Resident Labour Market test by proving they cannot fill the post with a resident worker before they can bring in someone from outside the EEA. Tiers 2 and 5 will sweep aside around 30 different routes to the UK, including the old work permit system. Tier 2 of the points system will ensure that British jobseekers get the first shot at jobs and only those foreign workers we need will be able to come to the UK.

Tier 5 covers those travelling temporarily to the UK for primarily non-economic reasons, such as sportspeople, entertainers and charity workers. To ensure entertainers continue to contribute to British cultural life, those coming to the UK for permit-free gigs or festivals – such as the Edinburgh Fringe – will be assessed outside of the points system under visitor visa rules.

The National Identity Scheme will help protect against identity fraud, illegal working and immigration, crime and terrorism, and those trying to abuse positions of trust and make it easier for people to prove they are who they say they are.

Tougher visa rules for non-Europeans

Tamara Almeida, Miss World Brazil