UK Mulls Charging European Citizens for ID Cards
British authorities are about to force millions of European citizens resident in the country to sign up for an identity card, according to a report.
The Guardian informs that the Home Office will introduce a GBP 55 fee later in 2013.
The immigration minister, Mark Harper, said earlier this month a mandatory ID card scheme was under consideration for Romanians, Bulgarians and other European nationals.
Harper suggested that anybody coming to the UK from Europe for more than three months would have to obtain a European residence cards to access public services, including claiming welfare benefits.
Harper said earlier this month said that mandatory registration would allow the immigration authorities to check whether people had come to Britain to study, to look for work or were self-sufficient.
The Guardian has reminded that, under European law, a mandatory registration scheme could not just apply to Bulgaria and Romania, whose citizens get the freedom to work throughout the EU without restriction from the end of this year. It would have to cover the citizens of all other EU countries resident in Britain.
Residence documents, including registration certificates, for citizens from other EU states living in Britain are currently not mandatory but are used to prove the right of permanent residence in the UK if the holder wants to apply for a residence permit for any family member who does not hold an EU passport.
A special cabinet committee is looking at ways to restrict access to public services, including welfare benefits and healthcare, to reduce the "pull factors" which may attract Bulgarians and Romanians. A mandatory registration scheme or identity card would be needed to operate any scheme involving restricted access to benefits or healthcare in Britain.
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