All foreign nationals will be fingerprinted and made to carry ID cards under Government plans to tighten Britain’s borders.
A new Borders Bill will also see the automatic deportation of foreign prisoners who have committed a serious offence and been jailed for 12 months or more.
Under the plans, all foreign nationals arriving in the UK must give provide fingerprints, digital photographs and iris scans for an identity document.
Failure to buy the ID could lead to a £1,000 fine or losing the right to stay in Britain.
Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said: “In the last six months I have met hundreds of frontline staff and these are the measures they say they need.
“They don’t stand alone. They are part of a radical shake-up of immigration, which includes £100million extra for enforcement, new technology to count people in and out of Britain and new biometric ID cards.”
John Cridland, deputy director-general of the CBI, welcomed the “tough, targeted action”, adding that the ID system “should help employers by simplifying the current system of checks”.
But the UK Borders Bill allows criminals to delay de-portation – backtracking on Tony Blair’s pledge to kick foreign offenders out of Britain “irrespective” of human rights concerns in their home countries.
Under the proposed legislation, the Home Secretary cannot issue a deportation order if it breaches the European Convention of Human Rights or if an appeal “could be brought”. And civil rights groups branded the ID cards “racially divisive”.
Tory Damian Green said: “This is the Government’s sixth immigration Bill in 10 years. The previous five have not worked, so there is no reason to believe that John Reid’s tough rhetoric will translate into effective action this time.”
The Immigration and Nationality Directorate will be rebranded as the Border and Immigration Agency.
The measures come after last year’s scandal which saw more than 1,000 non-British convicts released without even being considered for deportation – a gaffe that lead to Charles Clarke being axed as Home Secretary.