Biometrics trial at Gatwick

Checking of visas from Sierra Leone will continue until April

By Computing

A government trial of fingerprint systems is underway at London’s Gatwick airport as part of plans to use biometric technology to address immigration issues.

Applicants for UK visas from across the world are already required to provide a fingerprint with their application. Under the BioDev project, which runs until April, biometrics from visitors from Freetown, Sierra Leone will be checked again when they reach the UK.

Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said: “New fingerprint visas are fast becoming our first line of defence against illegal immigration. By establishing people’s identities beyond any doubt before they enter the UK we can stamp out multiple applications and identity fraud – ensuring entry only to those who are welcome.

“Biometric technology is transforming the way we protect our borders. Through projects like the BioDev trial we are creating a triple ring of security: identifying individuals before they travel to the UK through a biometric visa, then checking it at the border, and finally, from 2008, rolling out ID cards for foreign nationals in the UK.”