ID cards for foreigners from 25 November

The UK Border Agency has given a start date to compulsory identity cards, for foreign nationals applying to stay in the country as students or through marriage

From 25 November, applicants from outside the European Economic Area in these two categories will have to travel to one of six centres to enrol in the National Identity Scheme, which will include having their fingerprints and a photograph taken.

However, employers checking whether they can give a card holder a job will not check fingerprints, and initially neither will border control staff.

Instead, employers will check cards visually. The UK Border Agency will provide organisations with a telephone Employers Verification Service, to use if they have concerns over a card’s validity. A holder’s ability to take up work, to study or to claim benefits will be marked on the card in its ‘remarks’ section.

Philippe Martin, a senior analyst at Kable, said that non-EEA nationals already need a visa to work or study, and the card will work in the same way. “It’s just a renaming,” he said of the move. “Now they have a visa, and in future they will have an identity card.”

The Home Office said that the process has been tested on 10,000 foreign nationals applying in either the student or marriage and civil partnership categories during a three month pilot.

Foreigners from outside the EEA countries who are not in the two chosen categories will continue to receive a vignette in their passport for the time being. A document released by the UK Border Agency in August said that by 2010, only 10% of non-European foreigners will have identity cards, although this will rise to 30% by 2010 and 90% by 2014-15.

Source: Kable’s Government Computing