Romanian immigrants face giving fingerprints -


Romanian immigrants face giving fingerprints

Romanians and Bulgarians who come to Britain next year face being fingerprinted and having other “biometric” details taken under plans being considered by ministers. 

Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants' fingerprints would be taken along with a photograph and an electronic record of their signature. Photo: Rubber Ball / Alamy
10:00PM GMT 22 Mar 2013

The Coalition is looking at requiring nationals from the two countries to have “biometric residence permits” which show their entitlement to use public services. The cards would store data, including a carrier’s fingerprints and facial image.

To receive a card, immigrants would have to attend either a UK Border Agency office or a post office, where their fingerprints would be taken along with a photograph and an electronic record of their signature.

It came as Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, dropped his pledge to give an amnesty to illegal immigrants that would have allowed them to stay in Britain after a decade.

David Cameron will next week make a speech on immigration in an effort to persuade voters that the Coalition is determined to deter Romanians and Bulgarians from coming next year.

Temporary legal limits on Bulgarians’ and Romanians’ right to work elsewhere in the European Union lapse next year, and some politicians have suggested significant numbers will come to Britain.

Romanians in Bucharest protest against the introduction of biometric identification documents
Ministers have said they are looking at restricting the new arrivals’ access to public services like the NHS, “pull factors” which they believe could attract migrants to Britain.

It is understood that to achieve this, ministers could seek to use biometric identity permits. The permits are already in routine use for non-European nationals resident in the UK, and some Conservatives want them applied to Romanians and Bulgarians.

However, the plan faces a potential obstacle because under European law, the requirement to carry a residence card might have to be extended to all EU nationals in the UK.

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