As part of measures to crackdown on illegal workers, the UK on Tuesday started issuing identity cards to foreigners, incorporating their facial image and fingerprints to securely lock them to one identity.
For the start ID cards are being issued to people making applications to remain in the UK as a student or based on marriage, the Home Office said in a statement.
This will be followed by identity cards for British workers in sensitive roles and locations in 2009 and to young people in 2010, it said.
"The first identity cards for foreign nationals along with the launch of Tiers 2 and 5 of the points system demonstrate our commitment to preventing immigration abuse and protecting the prosperity of the UK," Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said.
"In time, identity cards for foreign nationals will replace paper documents and give employers a safe and secure way of checking a migrant's right to work and study in the UK," Smith said.
Introduced as part of a crackdown on illegal workers, the IDs will incorporate the facial image and fingerprints of immigrants.
Identity cards will be mandatory for all foreign nationals and provide means of proving a foreign national's right to work, the Home Office said.
From Thursday, stringent new rules to bring in workers to the UK through Tiers 2 and 5 of the points system will also begin as employers who have registered with the UK Border Agency will be able to bring in migrant workers from outside European Economic Area (EEA).