Britain is to start issuing identity cards to people from outside the European Union. Initially students and those entering the country on marriage visas will be required to apply for the new biometric cards. It is the start of the roll-out of the controversial multi-billion euro scheme. The government expects 90 percent of all foreign nationals to be in posesssion of a card by 2015. The cards will contain personal details, fingerprints and a facial image. The authorities claim the cards will give employers a safe and secure way of checking a migrant’s right to work or study in the country.
Over the next few years the plan will be expanded to include Briton’s, starting with airside staff at Manchester and London City airports. Both opposition parties are against the scheme, which they say is a waste of money, both vowed to do away with the card if elected to office. Civil liberties groups deplore the move, which they claim threatens individual privacy.