Identity & Passport Service
National Identity Scheme
MSP Briefing Document
To provide MSP’s with information on the National Identity Scheme in advance of the motion S3M-2906 Fergus Ewing: ID Cards on Wednesday 19th November 2008.
The implementation of the National Identity Scheme moved a step closer with the launch of Identity Cards for Foreign Nationals on the 25th November 2008. We are writing to give you some background to the scheme and to keep you updated with its rollout.
On the 6th November the Identity and Passport Service published several documents. These documents include the response to the consultation on the National Identity Scheme Delivery Plan, a brochure ‘Introducing the National Identity Scheme: How the scheme will work and how it will benefit you’, and the latest Cost Report. This highlights that the total estimated cost of the scheme for the next 10 years is £4,785 million for UK citizens and £326 million for foreign nationals. The latter costs will be recovered from fees charged to foreign nationals. Approximately 72% of the cost for UK citizens would need to be spent in any event to implement secure biometric passports and as with passports, the operational costs of issuing identity cards will be recovered from fees.
These documents can be accessed via the following website. http://www.ips.gov.uk/identity/press-2008-11-06.asp
The Government’s National Identity Scheme (NIS) gives people for the first time the ability to prove who they are in a secure and convenient way, protecting themselves and their families against identity fraud, crime, illegal immigration, illegal working and terrorism.
The Identity Card for Foreign Nationals is the first part of the NIS and will be rolled out on an incremental basis. All new entrants and those extending their stay will have a card within three years and it is estimated that by the end of 2014/15 about 90% of all foreign nationals will be issued with an identity card.
From 25th November 2008, foreign nationals will begin applying to the UK Border Agency for identity cards starting with those who apply for further leave to remain in the UK within certain categories (student and marriages/civil partnerships). This will help keep our borders strong, and will provide additional protection against illegal immigration and illegal employment.
Identity cards for foreign nationals will build on existing safeguards which strengthen our borders, like fingerprint visa checks before people travel to the UK, a strong new force at the border and the future introduction of new technology to count people in and out of the country.
By 12 December 2008, fingerprints and facial images will be captured at six centres around the UK, including in Glasgow, as part of the process of making a decision about an individual’s right to be in the country.
The card is evidence of the holder’s nationality, identity and status in the UK. It will provide information that will help public agencies; employers and educational establishments more easily understand the migrant’s entitlements. It will also be an additional simple form of confirming identity and right to work and, where accepted, access public services for individuals who have entered the UK. This will enable them to work or study legitimately under the Government’s new points based system, which is being rolled out from this year.
Taking an image of a person’s face and fingerprints and then locking them to that person’s details, provides a very safe and secure way of identifying that person and helps to combat illegal working and reduce illegal immigration to the UK. The card will provide a convenient, extremely secure and widely accepted way for any foreign national to prove their immigration status.
The introduction of these cards does not require organisations to make changes to the checks they currently undertake for foreign nationals to be in the UK. It will replace existing vignettes and other immigration status documents which are not as secure as the new identity card.
Following the issuing of Identity Cards to foreign nationals, the National Identity Scheme rollout will continue with Identity Cards for workers in sensitive roles and locations like airports next year. Manchester and London City will be the first airports to introduce identity cards from autumn 2009. In 2010 voluntary Identity Cards will be offered to young people and in 2011/12, voluntary identity cards will be offered to large numbers of the British public. The cost of an identity card will be £30 for 2009/2010. The fee will not apply to airside workers who are required to have an identity card during the evaluation phase.
Tuesday 18th November 2008.