The Home Office has tendered for a range of services worth £40m as part of the Employers' Checking Service (ECS), including a web-based interface, data storage, biometric chip reading technology and related support services.
The ECS is run by the UK Border Agency to enable employers to check the status of individuals to work.
A tender notice in the Official Journal of the European Union says the Home Office may also require "optional future services" enabling remote checks, which may include biometric chip-reading technology for download and biometric chip reading hardware.
The web-based "high availability interface" should include data-gathering, data-staging and the secure transfer of data to and from the authority in near real time, says the notice. It should also comprise the display of return data, check history management and maintain data in flight and in storage "in a secure fashion".
The chosen supplier should also provide a service that manages payments from customers and provides regular management information.
"The architecture must be capable of supporting future entitlement verification services," the notice adds.
The Home Office says the services will be made available for use by other government departments and agencies, adding that the UKBA anticipates a "period of technological and service development" before they are offered to the public.
This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.
Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.