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UK Home Office plans to toughen immigration rules in major overhaul

[JURIST] The UK Home Office [official website] announced plans to overhaul Britain's immigration system [press release] Tuesday in a review [PDF text] outlining how the Home Office's Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) [official website] will respond to the impact of globalization, changing travel patterns and evolving international crime and terrorism. The review recommends implementing identification cards, including biometric visas [eGov backgrounder] for foreign nationals by 2008; performing border checks before residents leave their home nations; counting the number of people that enter and exit by 2014; handling 90 percent of asylum claims within 6 months; and strictly enforcing laws banning employers from hiring illegal residents.

Home Secretary John Reid [official profile] told the UK House of Commons [official website] Tuesday that the planned overhaul came in response to weaknesses identified in the IND, particularly when Prime Minister Tony Blair fired former Home Secretary Charles Clarke [JURIST report] after authorities freed more than 1,000 foreign criminals [BBC timeline; JURIST report] at the end of their prison sentences without considering deportation. BBC News has more.

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