A biometric unit has been installed in Leicester to allow people living in the city to apply for their Biometric Residence Permit without having to travel too far.
The permits were first introduced in 2008 for migrants living in the country on short-term UK visas. However, they require some technical equipment to gather the biometric data required, which includes fingerprints and facial analyses.
Before the unit was unveiled in the Gallow Gate Post Office in Leicester, residents in the city were required to travel to Nottingham in order to get hold of a permit.
Now, they can get hold of one in their local Post Office, marking the expansion of a scheme which has so far seen over 100 Post Offices introduce biometric units for the creation of the permits.
Rob Whiteman, UK Border Agency chief executive, attended the latest launch, along with the Post Office's commercial director, Martin Moran, and local MPs.
Keith Vaz, Labour MP for Leicester East, has been campaigning for some time for the region to have its own machine and was glad to see the positive outcome of his efforts. He commented: “I am delighted the biometric facility has finally opened.
“This is the conclusion of our long campaign that has even seen this issue raised in the Houses of Parliament. The biometric facility will offer a vital service to residents wishing to apply for leave to remain in the UK.”
Liz Kendall, Labour MP for Leicester West, added that this will be “a great new service”. She confirmed the benefits of the unit, which crucially will mean that residents no longer have to make long journeys to organise their UK immigration paperwork: “This is a great new service, in the heart of the city, and means people will no longer have to travel to Nottingham or Derby. It’s also the first time people can get a biometric residence permit in a non-Crown Post Office.”