Several proposals for better regulation of migrants entering the UK have been released into the public domain by the Home office lately, to manage movements from travellers overseas.
Although more efficient than paper credentials by a large margin, biometric technologies are continuously being enhanced to streamline flows of eligible travellers through Britain’s busiest airports and refuse those who don’t meet entry requirements.
One of the plans by the Home Office is to end cumbersome biometric screening introducing secure “contactless corridors” which screen travellers accurately using hidden cameras across airport walkways.
Now, the Home Office is planning to trial self-service biometric kiosks to track eligible travellers in advance to the airport, after seeking input from UK biometric providers. Providers were approached to provide biometrics sensors, optical-character-recognition systems and print readers for Biometric Self-Enrolment Feasibility Trials that took place during November and December 2021.
Volunteers across different demographics were recruited to test the accuracy of the facial and fingerprint technology. While there were improvements to be made to both technologies, testing showed that the kiosks outperformed mobile solutions.
Predating kiosks, the Home Office’s verification app was launched as part of the EU Settlement Scheme. Kiosks under a new global immigration system will be made available for travellers to enrol if they are not permitted to apply for a visa.
Companies involved in the trials included VFS Global, Blue Biometrics, Idemia, iProov, Unisys, FaceTec, Gambit, Regula Forensics, GBG, NEC subsidiary Northgate Public Services, Spidx, Teleperformance Contact, Trust Stamp and Thales.
The document says, “The success of these trials and the insights provided have brought the Home Office closer to achieving its ambition of remote self-enrolment. Considering these results, it is hoped that by continuing to work with industry and by piloting new solutions, current self-enrolment technology will improve to be in a production-ready state within the next one to three years”.
The kiosks will enter a full three-month pilot phase.