Softening us up for ID Cards
BBC NEWS | Politics | Foreign national ID card unveiled
The Border and Immigration Agency will begin issuing the biometric cards to the two categories of foreign nationals who officials say are most at risk of abusing immigration rules - students and those on a marriage or civil partnership visa.
Both types of migrants will be told they must have the new card when they ask to extend their stay in the country.
The card cannot be issued to people from most parts of Europe because they have the right to move freely in and out of the UK.
Phil Booth, head of the national No2ID campaign group, attacked the roll-out of the cards as a "softening-up exercise".
"The Home Office is trying to salami slice the population to get this scheme going in any way they can," Mr Booth told the BBC.
"Once they get some people to take the card it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.
"The volume of foreign nationals involved is miniscule so it won't do anything to tackle illegal immigration.
"They've basically picked on a group of people who have no possibility of objecting to the card - they either comply or they are out."
Wouldn't tattoos be easier?