On 29 February 2012, the UK Border Agency completed its rollout of biometric residence permits (BRPs) to new applicants in the UK. As a result, the number of biometric residence permits issued by the agency will significantly increase.
What this now means is that all applicants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) applying to stay in the UK for more than six months will now have to register their fingerprints and digital facial image. Successful applicants will be issued a BRP as evidence of immigration status and entitlements in the UK. Included within this category will be refugees and those granted settlement rights.
BRPs are considered by the agency to be an important weapon in the fight against immigration abuse and illegal working. They are also perceived to have the added benefit of making it easier for employers to verify a foreign national’s right to work in the UK.
For employers seeking further guidance on checking BRPs and their security features, guidance can be downloaded from the agency’s website by clicking here.
Employers will also be assisted by a new automated online checking service, to be introduced from 31 May 2012, designed to provide quick and easy real time checks on the permit, the holder’s identity and right to work in the UK. In time, chip checking services will also be available which the agency claims will provide even greater confidence in the system.
To assist the collection of biometric information, The Post Office is expanding its biometric enrolment service centres from 17 to 104 locations, with all centres expected to be fully operational by 10 April 2012.