UKBA saves £50m by re-negotiating IABS contract with IBM

The United Kingdom Borders Agency (UKBA) has re-negotiated a key biometrics contract with IBM for constructing the Immigration & Asylum Biometric System (IABS), in a move that reportedly will save £50 million for the agency.

The re-negotiated biometrics contract with IBM is estimated to cost £191 million over the coming seven years. The savings were attained by ditching a component of the project that would have stored on the UK nationals.

The National Identity Assurance Service (NIAS) system, which will provide a database of fingerprints as well as facial images, will help authorities in controlling the entry of non-EU national into the UK.

The system will also help authorities maintain law and order in the country as it will make it easier to identify people with criminal records, and those who have previously been deported or been refused a visa.

Speaking on the deal, immigration minister Damian Green said, the deal would "strengthen our ability to control the entry of foreign nationals into the UK and identify those who pose a risk to our country."

Authorities will make use of the system to accelerate the checking of biometric visas, biometric residence permits and registration cards for asylum seekers. The new data base will replace a system first commissioned in 2000.