11 December 2008
New UK ID cards catch first illegal immigrant
The new UK identity cards introduced at the end of last month has been used by the Home Office to catch an illegal immigrant, reports Computerweekly.com.
The man was caught out using biometric technology at the identity card centre for foreign nationals in Solihull. Ranjit Singh, a 33-year-old Indian male from Caddington in Luton, was required to attend the centre after applying for a UK visa to stay in the country.
The fingerprints taken at the centre for the ID card confirmed Singh was a failed asylum seeker also called Ranjit Singh, aged 23. Singh made a confession that he had previously made an application for asylum using a false date of birth.
Home secretary Jacqui Smith said, "Identity cards ensure that foreign nationals living, working and studying here legally are able to prove their identity easily - but they also make it much harder for people to use false or multiple identities.
"This case shows that the scheme is already working, and that with tough enforcement by UK Border Agency officials, those who don't play by the rules will be caught out."
In a press release, Smith announced the UK Home Office would start making identity cards mandatory for foreign nationals living, working and studying in Britain on Tuesday 25 November.
The ID cards provide instant proof to businesses, employers and educational institutions that a person is legally working or studying in Britain.
The ID cards also make security easier for immigration officers and police officers, who are clamping down on illegal working, human trafficking, organised immigration crime and benefit fraud.
The ID cards will use biometrics, including fingerprints and facial images, so that making false identities becomes a tactic of the past, as seen in Singh's case.
Gail Adams, UK Border Agency regional director, said, "This instant result shows how effective identity cards will be in preventing immigration abuse. Individuals will be locked down to one identity through their facial image and fingerprints."
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in UK visas and immigration services.
Article by Jessica Bird, UK Visa Bureau.