Home Affairs Minister Len Norman has lodged a proposition calling for immigration officers to be given the legal authority to require applicants under the Jersey EU Settlement Scheme to provide a photograph.
Jersey announced last year that it would be introducing a ‘settled status’ scheme, similar to the UK’s, under which EU nationals must register to retain their rights to live and work in the Island. It is estimated that more than 20,000 residents would be affected.
And last month it emerged that the £25 fee which EU nationals had previously been told they would have to pay to remain in the Island had been waived.
If Mr Norman’s proposition is approved, authorised persons – police officers, prison officers or an officer authorised to take fingerprints for immigration purposes – would be able to ask for a photograph of the applicant’s face.
A report accompanying the proposition says: ‘These regulations provide authority for an authorised person to require a person to provide a photograph of his or her face for an application for leave to remain in Jersey, in a case in which the Jersey Immigration Rules enable an EU citizen, or family member, to apply for that leave.
‘The application may be treated as invalid if the applicant fails to comply.’
Under the regulations, the photograph may be recorded on a card or other document and the information may be used for ‘certain other purposes to do with crime, national security, identifying dead or injured people, or ascertaining whether a person has acted unlawfully’.
The proposed regulations also state that the photograph and information must be destroyed when no longer needed, for example if the applicant becomes a British citizen and is issued a passport.
The proposition, which is due to be debated on 12 March, comes after Mr Norman told the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel in October that while photographs only would be needed initially, the law did allow an extension so that ‘any physical aspect of a person’, such as their DNA or fingerprints, could eventually be requested.