Home Office plans for a steady roll-out of the controversial ID cards are now beginning to gain momentum.
The Liberal Democrats, have always maintained that the plans should be ‘kicked into touch’.
Currently, only holders of student and marriage visas are required to apply for a card, and so far 130,000 cards have been issued since the scheme was launched in November 2008.
The Home Office now claims that from January 6 skilled migrants will have to apply an identity card when their visa expires, and this could mean that another 40,000 additional ID cards will be issued.
This further extension of the initial roll-out of the plans has been brought forward from April, when it had been expected to be announced in the run-up to the general election in May.
The change will mean that all professionals from outside the European Union who are playing soccer in the UK will have to apply for an ID card when they renew their visas. This will include millionaire Premier League stars such as Carlos Tevez from Argentina, Didier Drogba from Ivory Coast and Brazilian Robinho.
Every applicant will be required to go to the passport office, or selected post office, and have their fingerprints and face scan taken. As well as the biometric data, the card carries personal information and details of the holder’s employment rights. Phil Woolas, immigration minister, said:
“Making Didier Drogba carry a piece of plastic to prove his identity is a waste of taxpayer’s money.”
Chris Huhne also said recently that:
“The Government has managed to get the most intrusive database in history up and running and is already squandering huge amounts of money on it.
“ID cards should be scrapped immediately – they are an expensive way of achieving nothing.”