Fingerprint checks go global

The global rollout of fingerprint checks on all visa applicants is complete three months ahead of schedule, and millions under budget, the Government has announced.

Jan 31, 2008
By Paul Jacques

The global rollout of fingerprint checks on all visa applicants is complete three months ahead of schedule, and millions under budget, the Government has announced.

As part of the largest shake-up to Britain’s border security and immigration system for 40 years, anyone applying for a visa from 133 countries covering three quarters of the world’s population will now have their fingerprints checked against UK databases. Nearly 500 cases of identity swapping have been spotted already.

Immigration Minister Liam Byrne confirmed that the Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) had exceeded the Prime Minister’s target of removing or deporting more than 4,000 foreign national prisoners by the end of 2007 by 200 and outlined a day-by-day timetable for ten crucial milestones for new border protection over the next 12 months.

Mr Byrne said: “The public wants stronger borders. They want us to shut down the causes of illegal immigration and hold newcomers to account, deporting rule breakers where necessary.”

Biometric fingerprints have been taken from more than one million people, and so far 10,000 visa applicants have been identified who have previously been fingerprinted in the UK in connection with immigration cases or asylum applications.

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