Foreign nationals ID cards expedited

Workers with a UK job-offer to get ID cards early, the government has confirmed.

ID cards

Skilled migrants coming to the UK with a job offer will be issued with an ID cards from the start of next year, according to Home Secretary Alan Johnson.

Workers who fall under Tier 2 (skilled workers with a UK Sponsor and a UK job offer) of the points-based system will get the ID cards three months ahead of the expected schedule, Johnson said today. This is expected to number around 30,000 people and bring the total tally of issued cards up to about 120,000.

"Identity cards have been issued to 90,000 foreign nationals, exceeding our target by 15,000, a month ahead of schedule," Johnson said in a statement. "By speeding up the roll out of the cards more people will benefit from a secure and simple way to prove they are entitled to live, work or study here and it will prevent those here illegally from benefiting from the privileges of Britain."

The ID card efforts are being supported by a new trial set to take place in 17 Crown Post Offices. Here, the UK Border Agency will let workers 'enrol' their fingerprints and biometric information locally. Trials of this will start next month.

"Our partnership with the Post Office will provide vital extra capacity enabling the UK Border Agency to further speed up the enrolment process and give extra work to help safeguard the Post Office network," Johnson added.

" It will also give more choice and convenience to migrants about where they can enrol."

This option is designed to be more convenient for skilled workers but does come with a admin charge of 8. Alternatively, workers can still visit UK Border Agency or Identity and Passport Service offices, where the service remains free.

"The Post Office is very pleased to be supporting this trial as our reputation for trust and the unparalleled reach of our network means we can offer secure and efficient transfer of personal data while the potential for earning additional income would help support and sustain the nationwide branch network," said Alan Cook, managing director of the Post Office, in a statement.

Click here for more on government ID card plans.

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