Date Published: 14.02.2024
Status: Past
Type: Equal Treatment
Outcome: No further action

EUSS and Biometrics

Summary of Information

As part of the IMA’s Legislation Monitoring function, we undertook a review of The Immigration (Collection, Use and Retention of Biometric Information and Related Amendments) Regulations 2021 (“the 2021 Regulations”) and The Immigration (Provision of Physical Data) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 (“the 2018 Regulations”).

The IMA sought to understand why the Home Office requests biometric data from EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) applicants.

Summary of Actions and Evidence

The IMA corresponded with the Home Office to understand its requirement for face and fingerprint biometric data from third country nationals making an application under the EUSS, where they do not have an in-date biometric residence card.

The Home Office explained that biometric data for third country national applicants to the EUSS was required to confirm the applicant’s identity. The collection of biometrics at an early stage of the application process is to establish the identity of the applicant for validity purposes and, following a grant of EUSS status, to provide the applicant with a reliable proof of identity and immigration status which they can use when seeking employment or access to public services.

It was not clear to the IMA that Home Office caseworkers were designated as ‘authorised persons’ for the purpose of collecting biometrics in accordance with the 2018 and 2021 Regulations. We therefore wrote to the Home Office to clarify this point and it responded to confirm that, for the purpose of processing EUSS applications, a caseworker is designated as an ‘authorised person’ acting as an officer of the Secretary of State, under section 145(5) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, who has decided that biometrics can be provided in that way.

Summary of Decision

Based on review and consideration of the legislation and the responses received from the Home Office, the IMA considers that the collection of biometric data in relation to EUSS applicants is lawful as it supports a legitimate purpose.

The IMA has determined that it does not have reasonable grounds to believe that an inquiry into this issue may identify general or systemic failings in the implementation of the Withdrawal and Separation Agreements.

Furthermore, the IMA does not consider that it would be reasonable to explore this issue further by way of an inquiry at this time.


Does this issue affect you?

The complaints submitted to us help build a picture of where there are common, wide-reaching, or systemic issues with how UK public bodies are implementing the Withdrawal Agreement(s) for EU and EEA EFTA citizens’ rights.