LONDON, March 23 (UPI) -- The British government plans to require immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria to be fingerprinted and photographed in order to get public services.
The plan was announced Friday by the Department of Education, The Daily Telegraph reported. Immigrants would be given "biometric residence permits" that would also include a signature stored electronically.
Immigrants from outside the European Union are already required to have the cards.
Under EU law, Britain might have to extend the regulation to all immigrants. A moratorium on immigration from Romania and Bulgaria, two of the newest members of the union, expires next year.
Immigration from Eastern Europe has become an increasingly contentious issue. Recent census data shows that Polish-speakers are now the biggest foreign language group in Britain.
This week, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, abandoned a proposal for amnesty for illegal immigrants because of the public backlash.