The government is seeking powers to take biometric data from immigrants for inclusion in next-generation visas.
The UK Borders Bill published last week includes measures stipulating that foreign nationals coming to live in the UK must supply fingerprints or iris scans for inclusion in their immigration documents.
The measures will help tackle fraud, illegal working and multiple identities, says the Home Office.
The requirements will be phased in for different groups of immigrants and are being developed alongside plans for biometrics on UK passports and, ultimately, identity cards.
Immigrants failing to comply could face fines of up to £1,000, says the bill.
The legislation also gives immigration officers access to HM Revenue and Customs databases to help track down illegal immigrants.
Immigration minister Liam Byrne said: ‘[The plans] are part of a radical shake-up, which includes £100m extra for enforcement, new technology to count people in and out of Britain and new biometric ID cards for foreign nationals.’