Like many people, I am being asked for my passport with increasing frequency in order to prove my eligibility to work in the UK/EU.
My understanding of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 is that documentation such as a birth certificate and a National Insurance number is sufficient for this purpose. I'm also happy to allow people to see my passport and confirm that they have checked it. What I'm not happy to do is to send people my passport so that it is out of my possession for some time, or allow them to take photocopies of my passport and store them under who knows what degree of security. This requirement for "taking a photocopy" is usually presented as "the law". It isn't, and I refuse to allow anyone other than lawful authorities to have access to this sensitive information.
This means that it looks as if I will not be working as an Academic Associate for the UK HEA any more (unless I travel to York at my own expense to allow them to gaze wistfully at my credentials), and I may have difficulty claiming expenses lawfully incurred as part of travel as an invited speaker to a conference on an EU-funded project. In the latter case, it looks as if a trip to the Small Claims Court might be coming up to recover my costs.
So am I being unduly paranoid here? And are there any acceptable solutions to this problem?