20:06 GMT05 July 2020
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    The British government has been accused of losing track of the number of migrants arriving in the UK each year and those who overstay their visa; a UK think tank is now calling for all British people to be issued with a "unique person number" so that the government can better scrutinize population numbers.

    Policy Exchange believes that the ID cards should be introduced to streamline the various numbers people are issued with, from the Home Office, the NHS, National Insurance number, passport number and tax office details.

    "It is time for an overhaul if migration statistics and a much more reliable oversight of movement across borders," a report titled 'Immigration and Integration After Brexit' said.

    The think tank suggests that Britain adopt a more Scandinavian approach to issuing all citizens and non-citizens with a unique person number and could base the UK system on NHS registration numbers.

    David Goodheart, author of the report said: "Many people who voted for Brexit have an uneasy sense that the people running the country do not know how many people are here or where they are.

    "And they are right. It is time for an overhaul of migration statistics and a much more reliable oversight of movement across borders — roughly two million arrive on visas every year….and too many overstay."

    In 2010, Britain's Labour government introduced the National Identity Card scheme to tackle fraud, illegal immigration and identity theft. However, the scheme was criticized for being too expensive and encroaching on people's civil liberties. The ID cards were abolished by the then Home Secretary Theresa May.

    Introducing the abolition bill, Mrs May said: "This bill is a first step of many that this government is taking to reduce the control of the stave over decent, law-abiding people and hand power back to them. With swift parliamentary approval, we aim to consign identity cards and the intrusive ID card scheme to history within 100 days."

    ​But Goodheart wants to revisit the ID cards debate to "establish a more formal distinction between full and temporary citizenship."

    "We allow people into our national home, goes the reasoning, and they treat it as a kind of economic transit camp… The government needs to get a grip on who is coming into Britain, where they are living and what public services they are accessing," Goodheart said.

    The Policy Exchange think tank was established by former Conservative minister and Vote Leave campaign leader Michael Gove and Nick Boles in 2002.


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