Not got time to digest this at the moment but here's the information from the government press office on the trial of the ID Card scheme which happened a couple of hours ago:
(Home Office) First ID card unveiled by Home Secretary as scheme builds momentum
The first UK Identity Card was unveiled today by the Home Secretary. Building on the Government's commitment to begin issuing the first ID cards to foreign nationals from November 2008, the card's design was revealed for the first time.
The new credit-card sized document will show the holder's photograph, name, date of birth, nationality and immigration status. A secure electronic chip will also hold their biometric details, including fingerprints, and a digital facial image.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said:
"Today shows we are delivering on our commitment to introduce the National Identity Scheme in order that we can enjoy its benefits as quickly as possible.
"ID cards will help protect against identity fraud, illegal working, reduce the use of multiple identities in organised crime and terrorism, crack down on those trying to abuse positions of trust and make it easier for people to prove they are who they say they are.
"ID cards for foreign nationals will replace old-fashioned paper documents, make it easier for employers and sponsors to check entitlement to work and study, and for the UK Border Agency to verify someone's identity. This will provide identity protection to the many here legally who contribute to the prosperity of the UK, while helping prevent abuse."
Compulsory identity cards for foreign nationals will kick start the National Identity Scheme, with the first applicants having to apply for cards from 25 November.
Within three years all foreign nationals applying for leave to enter or remain in the UK will be required to have a card, with around 90 per cent of foreign nationals in Britain covered by the scheme by 2014/15.
To ensure the benefits of the programme are felt from the start, the UK Border Agency will start with categories that have been targeted by those wanting to abuse our immigration system, including students and people seeking leave to remain on the basis of marriage. The introduction of the first card supports the Government's tough new Australian-style Points Based System for managed migration. To earn and retain their licence as a sponsor businesses and education providers must keep records of the migrants they have sponsored including, in time, a copy of a migrant's identity card. Businesses found employing illegal workers face fines of up to £10,000 per person.
The introduction of cards for foreign nationals will be followed by the first ID cards for British citizens, targeting workers in sensitive roles and locations like airports from 2009. Then from 2010 ID cards will be available to young people who want them and from 2011/12 cards will be available to the general population. The introduction of ID cards will provide a convenient and secure means to protect identity by locking it to one person using their fingerprints.
Tom Hadley, Director of External Relations of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), said:
"Recruitment professionals in the front-line of the UK labour market play an increasingly pivotal role in checking the identity, background and status of individual job seekers.
"Within this context measures to simplify the checking requirements can be welcomed and must be backed with an extensive communication programme. Recruiters take their responsibilities to verify an individual's right to work in the UK extremely seriously and support initiatives to enhance safe and ethical recruitment."
Julian Gravatt, Association of Colleges' Director of Funding and Development, said:
"Issuing ID cards to overseas students should assist in the reduction of identity fraud.
"Colleges welcome any measure which facilitates the recruitment of genuine students to study in the UK and the economic benefits this brings."
Tim Cowen, Director of Communications for NCP Services, said:
"This is good news for employers, and a credit to the work the UKBA has done to help make the hiring of migrant workers more streamlined for UK organisations.
"Employers will, quite rightly, still need to make sure their systems for spotting forgeries are robust, but the biometric cards will cut down on fraud and make it easier for us to do this.
"Crucially, it will also help those who genuinely have the right to work in the UK get employment quickly - since it will be easier to check their identity and get them working."
This builds on the successful delivery of other work to ensure the integrity of our borders. So far:
* 2.8 million visa applicants have been fingerprinted;
* 3,500 cases of identity swap in the UK have been identiifed and dealt with; and
* over 12.5 mill