Biometric checks find immigration cheats
Published: August 08, 2007, 23:08
London: The government said yesterday it had traced 6,000 potential immigration cheats through a new scheme to take fingerprints from visa applicants.
Since the system came into force last year, the government's directorate UKvisas said more than half a million sets of fingerprints had been taken from applicants.
That had led officials to match more than 6,000 sets of prints “to individuals who are of concern”.
“New fingerprint visas are fast becoming our first line of defence against illegal immigration,” said home office minister Liam Byrne.
“By collecting fingerprint information on foreign nationals coming to the UK in advance of their journey, we are building a new overseas border control which is flushing out the false visa applicants.”
Fingerprinting is compulsory for British visa applicants from half of the countries of the world.
The prints are checked against government records to see if the individual is already known to the immigration authorities.
Fingerprint checks had shown that one Sudanese businessman who applied for a visa to go shopping in Britain had been a failed asylum seeker in 2004 using a different identity.