Learning English - Words in the News
14 January, 2008 - Published 14:26 GMT
UK biometric visas
From today, visitors to the United Kingdom requiring a visa must have their fingerprints taken. The British Government says it's necessary to deter people from using false identities when they apply to enter the UK. This report from Andy Tighe:
Under the new system, travellers to Britain from 133 countries - covering three quarters of the world's population - must now have their fingerprints checked against a database compiled by officials. The British Government says it's necessary to deter people from using false identities when they apply to enter the UK, including would-be asylum-seekers who've previously been turned down or deported, people with criminal records and wanted terrorists.
Nearly five hundred cases of identity swapping have been detected so far and the scheme is now fully operational three months earlier than expected. The Government also says it's exceeded its target for deporting foreign national prisoners at the end of their sentence, with more than four thousand removed last year.
By the end of this year the Government says it will begin issuing compulsory identity cards for all non-European Union foreign nationals in Britain, though it says the much more controversial plans to force British citizens to hold ID cards are some years away and require a change in the law.
Andy Tighe, BBC
turned down or deported