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Immigration and asylum biometric system under construction

Green: "The new system is faster, more accurate and more resilient"

biometric-ap.jpg14th September 2010: The Government will use part of the money saved following the cancellation of ID cards and a halt to work on second biometric passports, to build the immigration and asylum biometric system (IABS).

Immigration Minister Damian Green said the new system will strengthen UK’s ability to control the entry of foreign nationals into the country and identify those who pose a risk to the country. “Those who have previously been deported, or committed a criminal offence, or been turned down for a visa will find it much harder to enter the UK,” Mr. Green said.

Following the Home Secretary’s announcement of the cancellation of ID cards and a halt to work on second biometric passports on 27th May 2010, the Government reviewed the future use of all contracts let in connection with ID cards and second biometric passports.

“One of the relevant contracts is for the provision of a database of fingerprints and facial images. This contract, titled the national identity assurance service (NIAS) also supports key UKBA initiatives for the control of immigration and asylum. UKBA has been able to save £50 million from the contract price by removing components that stored data on UK nationals, and which are no longer needed,” Mr. Green said.

“Using the revised contract UKBA will completely modernise our ability to use biometrics to protect our borders. The new system is scheduled for delivery by IBM at the end of 2011 and will support the checking of biometric visas, registration cards for asylum seekers and biometric residence permits,” he added.

According to Mr. Green, “the new system is faster, more accurate and more resilient. It can also be expanded to cater for future immigration applications, for example streamlined border entry processes. The revised contract is worth £191 million over seven years.”

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