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Explaining biometric residence permit

Published:Tuesday | March 27, 2012 | 12:00 AM
John S. Bassie

Dear Mr Bassie,

I am being told that everybody who now would like to stay in the United Kingdom must have a biometric residence permit.

Any information would be appreciated.

- T.D.

Dear T.D.,

This year, the United Kingdom Border Agency has completed the rollout of biometric residence permits in the United Kingdom. As a result, this significantly increases the number of biometric residence permits issued by the agency. From the beginning of March 2012, all applicants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who are applying to stay in the United Kingdom for more than six months will have to register their fingerprints and digital facial image. This will result in the successful applicant being issued a biometric residence permit as evidence of his or her immigration status and his or her entitlements while in the United Kingdom. It should be noted that included in those being issued biometric residence permits will be refugees and those granted settlement.

Fingerprints and photograph

The United Kingdom Border Agency in November 2008 began putting out biometric residence permits and they have issued around 650,000 biometric residence permits that contain fingerprints and photograph on a secure chip. The United Kingdom Border Agency has stated that the biometric residence permits are an important measure in fighting immigration abuse and illegal employment. In addition, the biometric residence permit will make it easier for employers to verify a foreign national's right to work in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom Border Agency has made it easier for employers to check biometric residence permits and their security features. As of May 31, the United Kingdom Border Agency intends to launch a new automated online checking service that will aim to provide relevant parties with quick and easy real time checks on biometric residence permits and that will also give the holder's identity and that individual's right to work.

It should also be noted that the post office will provide a service for applicants to provide their biometric information throughout a network of locations across the United Kingdom. This will ensure that a biometric enrolment facility is within reasonable travelling distance for most applicants. Furthermore, the additional post office locations will assist the 17 branches are already offering biometric enrollment. The United Kingdom Border Agency expects that the additional branches will be operational from March 2012 and it is anticipated that all 104 locations will be fully operational by the end of April 2012.

John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a chartered arbitrator. Email: lawbassie@yahoo.com