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Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002

Provision of information by traveller

Section 126 : Physical data: compulsory provision

326.This section supplements the current power to fingerprint and gather data from persons subject to immigration control, which is contained in sections 141 to 146 of the 1999 Act. Subsections (1) and (2) enable the Secretary of State to provide by regulations that a person who makes an application for a visa or entry clearance, or for leave to enter or remain (including variation of such leave) will be required to provide data specified in the regulations when making such an application, or to provide on demand such information to an "authorised person", who is enabled by the regulations to collect such data (for example, an entry clearance officer or immigration officer). The data that may be required extends to external physical characteristics, including features of the iris and any other part of the eye. By virtue of subsection (3), the power does not extend to those persons to whom section 141 of the 1999 Act contemporaneously applies. These persons continue to be covered by sections 141 to 146 of that Act.

327.Subsections (4) to (8) make further provision about the content of the regulations. In particular, regulations may specify the form in which “data” should be provided and the means by which data may be obtained. They may also require persons authorised by the regulations to require the provision of data to have regard to any specified code of practice, or provisions thereof, that is in force under specified Police and Criminal Evidence legislation. The regulations may make provision for the use and retention of information provided, which may permit the use of information for specified non-immigration purposes. The regulations may also specify the consequences of an applicant failing to provide the requisite data, which may include the application in question being treated as invalid or refused. Additionally the requirements of the regulations can be specified to apply to certain cases or circumstances or to apply to all applications generally. There is no power to arrest persons who refuse to provide the data or to use reasonable force as remains the case for those covered by sections 141 to 146 of the 1999 Act. Regulations must provide for the destruction of data some 10 years from the date of recording of that data (unless another date is specified in the regulations for this purpose) and ensure that proper safeguards are in place when collecting data from those under the age of 16.

Section 127: Physical data: voluntary provision

328.Under this section the Secretary of State may operate a scheme that enables people voluntarily to provide data of the type covered by section 126 with a view to assisting and accelerating their entry into the United Kingdom. By virtue of subsection (2), regulations made under this clause may impose or permit imposition of a charge on participants and may provide for safeguards regarding the use and retention of data.

Section 128: Data collection under Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

329.This section amends section 144 of the 1999 Act to clarify that features of the iris or any other part of the eye come within the scope of external physical characteristics. This confirms that iris scans may be prescribed under section 144 of the 1999 Act and ensures that section 144 of that Act is interpreted in line with section 126. This section also ensures that those exercising powers taken under section 144 of the 1999 Act may be obliged to have regard to any specified code of practice, or (possibly modified) provisions thereof, that is in force under specified Police and Criminal Evidence legislation. Those collecting data under section 126 may also be required to have regard to such codes or provisions thereof.

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