Biometric residence permits system expanded

The Home Office is set to expand its biometric permit system, doubling the number of permits issued to 400,000.

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The Home Office is set to expand its biometric permit system, doubling the number of permits issued to 400,000.

The biometric permits hold a person's fingerprints and photograph on a chip, with the data stored on a central database. The aim is to help target those working illegally or claiming benefits they are not entitled to.

The system is being expanded to include refugees and those given the right to live here permanently, and will mean that all non-EEA (non-European Economic Area) nationals applying to remain in the UK for more than six months will now be covered by the compulsory permits. In 2010, the government officially scrapped plans for ID cards for UK citizens, but biometric passports remain.

The rollout of biometric passports for non-EEA nationals will be aided by the Post Office, which will expand the number of sites that can take biometric data from 17 to 87.

From June, an online Employers' Checking Service for permits will enable employers to run real-time checks on whether individuals are eligible to work or access services.

Damian Green, immigration minister, said: "This will help ensure only those with the right to be here can take a job legally in the UK and enjoy the services to which they are entitled."