The UK government said a post-Brexit rule banning the use of identity cards to enter Britain from the European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA) came into force on Friday.
Under plans announced by the government a year ago, most EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will need a valid passport to enter the UK as border officials stop accepting national identity cards as travel documents on 1 October. Huh.
The UK said the changes were necessary to make it easier to stop the use of forged documents, combat crime and stop illegal immigrants after its definitive departure from the EU earlier this year.
In a statement late Thursday, Home Secretary Priti Patel said Britain needed to “crack down on criminals who want to enter our country illegally using forged documents”.
“By eliminating the use of insecure ID cards we are strengthening our border and delivering on people’s priority to withdraw to our immigration system,” she said.
The changes come as Britons grapple with a shortage of thousands of HGV drivers, leading to fuel woes and shortages on supermarket shelves.
Haulage industry data has warned of changes in ID risk creating more roadblocks for drivers amid a lack of convictions already in place by government critics over the coronavirus, along with Brexit.
The ban on the ID part of the package of changes to fulfill the ruling Conservative Party’s 2019 election promise to control Britain’s borders.
The proposed legislation, which has proved controversial with human rights campaigners, includes powers to arrest illegal immigrants and transfer asylum seekers overseas while their applications are processed.
The government has said that EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who previously lived in the UK and who were given the right to stay in the UK will still be able to use their national identity cards across borders by 2025.
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