From a Home Office website:
The Home Office has unveiled identity cards to be issued to foreign residents in the UK.
The plastic wallet cards show the holder’s photograph, name, date of birth, nationality and immigration status. A secure electronic chip holds their biometric details, including fingerprints, and a digital facial image.
The first cards are scheduled to be issued 25 November. Within three years all foreign nationals applying to enter or remain in the UK will be required to have a card.
By 2014, 90% of foreign residents in Britain should have identity cards.
The introduction of national identity cards for foreign residents will be followed by the first ID cards for British citizens, targeting workers in sensitive roles – such as airports – from 2009.
Then from 2010 ID cards will be available to young people who want them.
From 2011, cards will be available to the general population.