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Identity Cards: Foreigners

Volume 470: debated on Tuesday 8 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the likely effects of the introduction of mandatory identity cards for foreign nationals on access to services by foreign nationals; and if she will make a statement. (165932)

A regulatory impact assessment was issued for the UK Borders Act 2007 (which contains the new biometric registration provisions) in May 2007. An equality impact assessment for the biometric registration provisions was also issued. Both can be downloaded from the Border and Immigration Agency's website.

The new identity cards for foreign nationals will make it easier for public service providers to confirm a person's eligibility to entitlements and for foreign nationals to access those services. This is because the new identity cards will replace the existing residence permits and other UK immigration status documents which can be subject to fraud. The new cards will be presented as a highly secure polycarbonate standalone card which will contain a tamperproof embedded chip. The face of the card will contain important biometric and biographical information—including the person's immigration status and entitlement to public funds in the UK.