ID cards for Tier 2 immigrant from now on

Enrolment for the group was scheduled to begin in April

7th January 2010: If you are a skilled worker with sponsor, known as Tier 2 immigrant, you will have to apply for identity card from now on. Earlier compulsory enrolment for this group was scheduled to begin in April.

According to available information, Tier 2 immigrants will be required to provide their fingerprints and a photograph at either UK Border Agency biometric enrolment centres or at 17 participating Post Offices around Britain.

Foreign nationals enrolling at participating Post Offices will have to pay an £8 administrative fee, while the cost of the card will be included in the visa application fee.

Border and immigration minister Phil Woolas in a statement on Wednesday said identity cards have already been issued to more than 130,000 foreign nationals, with a total of approximately 140,000 due to be issued by the end of the financial year. He added identity cards are a secure and simple way for foreign nationals to prove they are entitled to live, work or study in the UK.

Privacy campaigner-cum-general secretary of the No2ID group Guy Herbert, on the other hand, insisted the government was already aware of the identity of Tier 2 foreign nationals. As such ID cards for the group was completely wasteful.

He added the government was aiming at people it already had information about. In fact, they were in no position to resist or kick up a fuss.

The Conservatives have already pledged to scrap the ID card scheme, if they win the next general election to be held before June.

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