UK government partners with the Post Office to rollout foreign national ID cards

The UK Border Agency to trial foreign national ID card technology at 17 Crown Post Offices. From January 2010 skilled foreign workers under Tier 2 of the Points Based System (PBS) will be issued with ID cards.

The roll has been moved forward from the original date set for April 2010 and will mean that around 30,000 foreign nationals a year will be added to those currently being issued with identity cards.

Since their introduction 90,000 cards have been issued, mainly to students renewing their visa under Tier 4 of the PBS and those renewing marriage visas.

The announcement means that in addition to accelerating the roll out to include foreign nationals in the UK renewing their right to stay under Tier 2, the Government has exceeded its target to issue 75,000 cards by November 2009.

The home secretary said:

“Our partnership with the Post Office will provide vital extra capacity enabling the UK Border Agency to further speed up the enrolment process and give extra work to help safeguard the Post Office network. It will also give more choice and convenience to migrants about where they can enroll.”

From October foreign nationals who are being issued with ID Cards will be given the choice of providing their fingerprints and photograph at one of the participating Crown Post Offices for a fee of £8 or at one of the UK Border Agency or Identity and Passport Service Offices currently included within the scheme, which will remain free.

Alan Cook, managing director of the Post Office, said:

“The Post Office is very pleased to be supporting this trial as our reputation for trust and the unparalleled reach of our network means we can offer secure and efficient transfer of personal data while the potential for earning additional income would help support and sustain the nationwide branch network.”

Regulations setting out the next stage of the roll out of Identity Cards for Foreign Nationals will be laid in Parliament in October.

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