Police checks on some migrants living in the UK have been scrapped because data stored by the Home Office is already shared with police forces. In an announcement, the Home Office revealed that it had suspended the Police Registration Scheme because police can now request access to Home Office data. The scheme was cancelled on 4 August 2022.
Previously, migrants arriving in the UK for a visit for more than six months from 42 countries had to register with the police within seven days. Many of them were students.
Under the Police Registration Scheme, their personal data would be recorded, including: their nationality, UK address and the address they lived at before arriving to the UK. Certain migrants, such as those who had permission to stay in the UK permanently and people who have been given refugee status after their asylum application has been approved, were not required to register.
In its Police Registration Scheme, the Home Office said that the scheme was “suspended with immediate effect”. It added that the scheme was “outdated” because police forces were able to request the same data already captured by the Home Office when migrants apply for visas.
It said: “Changes to the wider immigration system since the scheme was introduced now mean that more people are screened before travelling to the UK so those of concern can be identified earlier in their interaction with the Home Office.”
The UK Council for International Student Affairs welcomed the news. “For many years, UKCISA and its members have called for the removal of their unnecessary bureaucracy, which causes anxiety and stress for international students”.
Harry Anderson, policy manager at Universities UK, told The PIE News that the Police Registration Scheme had been a “burden” on international students. He said Universities UK had long called for it to end.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “This scheme dates back to the First World War and is no longer effective because data provided to the police is already collected by the Home Office when individuals apply to enter the UK. The police agree with the government and recommended that the scheme should be abolished so that officers can focus on policing and solving crimes.”
They continued: “It is not used by the police to monitor individuals and to claim otherwise is wrong.”