On the 1st December 2012 it became mandatory for all non-EEA nationals who have been granted leave to remain in the UK for more than 6 months to apply for a biometric residence permit (BRP) if they have not already done so.
The UKBA has stated its intention to write to all non-EEA nationals affected by the change, with instructions detailing how to apply for a BRP. According to their official announcement, the change:
“is to ensure that from 1 December we only issue this new format of immigration status document. This is to meet our obligations under European legislation.”
Biometric residence permits have been rolled out to the different UK visa categories over the last 4 years and replace the traditional passport stamps. This means that applicants for further leave to remain in the UK have been required to enrol their biometric information (fingerprints and facial images) and apply for a BRP at the same time.
The BRP is designed to make it easier for employers and Government bodies to check the immigration status of non-EEA nationals and confirm that they have valid permission to live and work in the UK.
You can read the full UKBA statement here.