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Sri Lanka takes part in UK Biometrics Project

9 July 2003

It will be mandatory for Sri Lankan nationals applying for a visa to enter the UK to submit their fingerprint records as part of a six-month biometrics pilot project announced by the Home Office yesterday.

Fingerprints will be scanned electronically and stored on a central database and shared with police and other law enforcement agencies to filter out the large number of Sri Lankans who make fraudulent asylum or immigration applications using a false identity.

Speaking about the project launch, Minister of State for Citizenship, Immigration, and Counter-Terrorism, Beverley Hughes said: "Biometrics provide a much more secure way of confirming someone’s identity. We are working towards the wider use of physical data like fingerprints or iris recognition in all parts of the immigration process and have already announced our intention to include biometrics in UK passports by 2005."

"Sri Lanka has been selected for this pilot as Sri Lankan nationals continue to make significant numbers of unfounded asylum applications - and to use false identities in the process. The Sri Lankan government is cooperating with us fully in this visa operation," she added.

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