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UKBA: Biometric residence permits – online checks to simplify the process for employers

Summary:
Biometric Residence Permits to be checkable online and to be issued to more foreign nationals, including refugees and those granted permission to settle in the UK
Date of Publication:
06 December 2011

Biometric residence permits – online checks to simplify the process for employers

06 December 2011

It will soon be much easier for employers to carry out checks to let them know whether foreign nationals have the right to work in the UK, Immigration Minister Damian Green announced today.

From spring 2012, firms will be able to go online to verify that the details contained on a foreign employee's biometric residence permit (BRP) are correct.

Damian Green said:

'It is vital that we work with employers to give them the tools they need to meet their obligations.

'Our new online checking service will also turn up the pressure on those who wish to live and work here illegally. The message is clear - the UK is no longer a soft touch for illegal workers.'

It was also announced that from 29 February 2012 BRPs will be issued to more categories of foreign nationals, including refugees and those granted permission to settle in the UK.

BRPs, which hold a person's fingerprints and photograph on a secure chip, are issued to non-EEA nationals with permission to remain in the UK for more than 6 months. They are an important step forward in the fight against immigration abuse and illegal working.

BRPs are simplifying the process of checking an individual's right to work by replacing the wide range of documents currently in use. The new online checking service for employers will enable quick and easy real-time checks on permits and their holder's identity and right to work in the UK.

Around 600,000 BRPs have been issued since November 2008. From next year they will cover all those applying from inside the UK to remain here for more than 6 months.

To meet increased demand and provide foreign nationals with more locations around the UK where fingerprints and photographs can be taken, the immigration minister has today announced that a contract for the collection of this information has been awarded to the Post Office Ltd.

The contract will run for 4 years and Post Office Ltd will offer a network of around 100 locations from spring 2012.

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WRITTEN MINISTERIAL STATEMENT ON BIOMETRIC REGISTRATION

E.R Tuesday, 6 December 2011

HOME OFFICE

The Draft Immigration (Biometric Registration) (Regulations) 2012

The Minister of State for Immigration (Damian Green): The Government is today laying before the House the Draft Immigration (Biometric Registration) (Regulations) 2012. These will complete the rollout of biometric immigration documents, known as biometric residence permits (BRPs), to all in-country categories of foreign nationals applying to extend their stay in the UK for over six months from 29 February 2012, including settlement, recognised refugees and protection categories.

This is required for the UK to comply with EU regulations (European Council Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002 of 13 June 2002 Regulation, amended in April 2008 by Council Regulation (EC) No 380/2008) that the UK opted in to and which lay down a uniform format for residence permits for third-country nationals. The UK Border Agency has been rolling out biometric immigration documents, known as biometric residence permits, by immigration category since November 2008.

We have made significant progress since the rollout of biometric residence permits began in September 2008 and will complete the in-country roll out three months before the EU deadline.

The rollout to overseas applicants coming to the UK for more than six months and to in country applications made prior to a biometric registration requirement needs significant infrastructure and system changes. No major technical changes are to be made to systems during the Accreditation Period of the Games which runs from 30 March 2012 to 8 November 2012, to ensure that the integrity and robustness of our systems is maintained during this critical time.

For the overseas rollout of biometric permits, we will return to Parliament with our plans, including policy proposals, for the final stage of the rollout which will be after the Accreditation Period of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. To manage the changes required to roll out to any migrant who applied in country before a requirement to apply for a biometric residence permit, we will continue to issue a sticker (vignette) as evidence of leave until 1 December 2012. Any migrant granted leave of more than six months from this date will be required by these regulations to apply for a biometric residence permit if they have not done so already.

To manage the increased volumes of applicants registering their fingerprints and digital facial image, I am pleased to announce that the UK Border Agency has awarded the contract for delivering third party enrolment to the Post Office Ltd.

Biometric Residence Permits simplify the checks that the UK Border Agency, employers and public service providers need to undertake to confirm immigration status and eligibility to entitlements in the UK. Our plans to introduce an automated online Employers Checking Service for biometric residence permits from Spring next year will make it even easier for employers to conduct quick and easy real time checks on the validity of the document.

I can confirm that we are publishing the impact assessment for the changes on the UK Border Agency website and I will arrange for a copy to be placed in the House Library.

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Impact assessment of biometric residence permits - November 2011 PDF 363KB

BRP policy equality statement - November 2011 PDF 302KB

Biometric residence permits research findings - December 2011 PDF 1.4MB

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