ID cards: £1,000 fine for skipping biometric scans

The government is planning a range of penalities for foreign nationals in the UK for non-compliance with the ID cards scheme
Written by Nick Heath, Contributor

In the latest government ID-card plans, people will face fines of up to £1,000 for skipping biometric scans.

Penalties ranging from £125 for not notifying the government of the loss of an ID card to £250 for not applying for a card or missing an appointment for fingerprint and facial scans, were revealed in the Home Office consultation papers.

The fines would apply to foreign nationals entering or living in the UK, who will be required to have ID cards from November, ahead of the cards' introduction for UK citizens next year.

Foreigners persistently failing to apply or turn up for scans face a charge of up to £1,000, but there would be a reduction in the fine of up to £100 for anyone who could prove extenuating circumstances for non-compliance.

Any foreign national with limited leave to stay in the UK who fails to apply or turn up for a scan three times in five years would have their remaining leave curtailed.

The Home Office documents predict the cards will be fitted with a "tamper-proof chip" containing encrypted information, which would include the holder's face, two fingerprints, personal details and immigration status.

Airport union Unite recently called for consultation on airport workers being among the first groups in the UK to need ID cards.

The widespread rollout to UK citizens, known as "Borders phase II", is now slated to begin in 2012 — two years later than indicated in an earlier government action plan.

Critics of the scheme have said the perceived two-year slip in the widespread rollout of the cards is another sign of wavering support among Gordon Brown's government for ID cards. Doubts over the scheme were further exacerbated by Accenture and BAE Systems pulling out of the procurement process to build the ID-card computer system.

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