Written statement to Parliament

Damian Green: Draft Immigration (Biometric Registration) (Regulations) 2012 - WMS

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

This written ministerial statement was laid in the House of Commons on 6 December 2011 by Damian Green, and in the House of Lords by Lord Henley…

This written ministerial statement was laid in the House of Commons on 6 December 2011 by Damian Green, and in the House of Lords by Lord Henley.

The government is today laying before the House the Draft Immigration (Biometric Registration) (Regulations) 2012.

These will complete the rollout of biometric immigration documents, known as biometric residence permits (BRPs), to all in-country categories of foreign nationals applying to extend their stay in the UK for over six months from 29 February 2012, including settlement, recognised refugees and protection categories.

This is required for the UK to comply with EU regulations (European Council Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002 of 13 June 2002 Regulation, amended in April 2008 by Council Regulation (EC) No 380/2008) that the UK opted in to and which lay down a uniform format for residence permits for third-country nationals. The UK Border Agency has been rolling out biometric immigration documents, known as biometric residence permits, by immigration category since November 2008.

We have made significant progress since the roll-out of biometric residence permits began in September 2008 and will complete the in-country roll-out three months before the EU deadline.

The roll-out to overseas applicants coming to the UK for more than six months and to in country applications made prior to a biometric registration requirement needs significant infrastructure and system changes. No major technical changes are to be made to systems during the accreditation period of the Games which runs from 30 March 2012 to 8 November 2012, to ensure that the integrity and robustness of our systems is maintained during this critical time.

For the overseas roll-out of biometric permits, we will return to Parliament with our plans, including policy proposals, for the final stage of the roll-out which will be after the accreditation period of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. To manage the changes required to roll out to any migrant who applied in country before a requirement to apply for a biometric residence permit, we will continue to issue a sticker (vignette) as evidence of leave until 1 December 2012. Any migrant granted leave of more than six months from this date will be required by these regulations to apply for a biometric residence permit if they have not done so already.

To manage the increased volumes of applicants registering their fingerprints and digital facial image, I am pleased to announce that the UK Border Agency has awarded the contract for delivering third party enrolment to the Post Office Ltd.

Biometric residence permits simplify the checks that the UK Border Agency, employers and public service providers need to undertake to confirm immigration status and eligibility to entitlements in the UK. Our plans to introduce an automated online employers checking service for biometric residence permits from spring next year will make it even easier for employers to conduct quick and easy real time checks on the validity of the document.

I can confirm that we are publishing the impact assessment for the changes on the UK Border Agency website and I will arrange for a copy to be placed in the House library.

Tuesday 6 November 2011

Date: Tue Dec 06 11:28:16 GMT 2011