Compulsory hi-tech facial scans for immigrants in Derbyshire

Process is a part of the endeavour to provide new identity cards to foreign nationals

Tags: National ID cards, Glen Carr, Gail Adams



4th August 2009: As a part of the endeavour to provide new identity cards to at least 90 per cent foreign nationals in Britain by 2015, the immigrants in Derbyshire are being asked to undergo compulsory hi-tech facial scans.

Available information suggests the data from the scans, to be used for the new identity cards, is as a part of a national UK Border Agency crackdown on illegal workers.

An estimated 10 days are required for the cards to be processed. Once complete, the foreigners they will be required to use their card to prove their identity to employers, academic institutions like universities and colleges, and also at border control.

The biometric scanners, similar to the ones being used under the scheme, will also take facial images for voluntary National ID cards. The Government plans to introduce these cards later this year.

The Border Agency officials believe the cards will be securer form of identification, compared to the passports and the birth certificates, as these can be forged.

Elaborating on the technology involved in the hi-tech scans, the officials say the scanners take 16 measurements of the face, which are then stored as data on an encrypted chip embedded in the cards. Fingerprints data taken at the passport offices will also be stored on the chips.

UK Border Agency senior executive Glen Carr says as of now Derby’s passport office is only dealing with foreigners applying as a student, or based on marriage. Other foreign nationals will be scanned over the next three years. They will be told that they need to get scanned after they apply.

Carr says by the end of the year, the Derby office will be dealing with about 80 people a day.

Employers need to ask the foreign national for their card. There’s a hotline they can ring to find out if the interviewee has permission to work in the UK.

Carr says the scanners for reading the cards were currently in production, but it is not yet clear how they will be used.

UK Border Agency regional director Gail Adams says the ID cards show the Government’s tough policy on illegal workers; and the cards will not only help us stop people illegally accessing benefits, but also make it easier to crack down on illegal working.


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