On 7 December 2011 regulations were put forward in Parliament which, if approved, will see more foreign nationals being issued with biometric residence permits (BRPs) from 29 February 2012.
From this date, all applications for leave of more than six months made in the UK by foreign nationals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) will require the applicant to enrol their biometrics (fingerprints and digital facial image). If successful in their application, the UK Border Agency will issue a BRP as evidence of immigration status and entitlements in the UK. This includes refugees and those granted settlement.
BRPs are an important step in fighting immigration abuse and illegal working and make it easier for employers to verify a foreign national's right to work in the UK.
The phased rollout of BRPs means increasing numbers of people from outside the EEA will be required to enrol biometrics. The Agency has contracted with Post Office Ltd to provide customers with 100 locations around the UK at which they can do this. This builds on the success of the 17 pilot Post Office locations which have been operating for some time and means the enrolment of applicants' biometric details can take place quickly and conveniently. The expanded number of Post Offices will be in place in spring 2012.