Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Foreign nationals given ID cards in UK

LONDON, Nov 25 (KUNA) -- The British Home Office is to start issuing identity cards to people from outside the European Economic Area, it was officially announced here Tuesday.

The first cards will go to students and the husbands, wives and partners of permanent residents who apply for permission to extend their stay, the Home Office said.

The British Government said that by April 2015, 90 percent of all foreign nationals living in the UK will have the cards, containing fingerprints and personal details.

The main opposition Conservatives have dismissed the cards as an expensive gimmick. They will contain the fingerprints, name, date of birth, nationality and the person's right to be in the UK.

British ministers predict that between 50,000 and 60,000 cards will be issued by the end of next March.

Britains Home Secretary Mrs Jacqui Smith said in a statement "In time, identity cards for foreign nationals will replace paper documents and give employers a safe and secure way of checking a migrant's right to work and study in the UK." But the shadow Conservative Home Secretary Dominic Grieve said "This is a gimmick but it's a gimmick with a price." "While these 'ID cards' won't stop illegal immigration or terrorism, they will land the taxpayer with a multi-billion pound bill...At a time of economic hardship this is the last thing the taxpayer needs," Grieve added.

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