UK Home Office Suspends Immigration Scrutiny on Bank Accounts

first_imgThe UK Home Office has suspended immigration checks on thousands of banks accounts in the wake of immigration scandals such as the Windrush controversy that hit the UK government recently, the Guardian reported.The checks were suspended temporarily, according to a Home Office spokeswoman, the report said. “It is vital that the compliant environment protects vulnerable people and appropriate safeguards are built into the measures. However, after careful consideration we have decided to temporarily reduce the scope of the checks being carried out on bank accounts,” the spokeswomen was quoted as saying by the publication. She added that the measure was taken so no one is inadvertently disadvantaged by measures put in place to tackle illegal migration.The Home Office is now in the process of getting in touch with banks and building societies to give them instructions about reducing the scope of the checks. The checks were introduced as part of UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s strategies for creation of a hostile environment for illegal immigrants, the report added.UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid on May 15 informed the UK Home Affairs Committee that banks were given instructions at the beginning of the year to ensure that the accounts of “thousands” of people the Home Office had incorrectly identified as illegal migrants to be closed. However, he has now asked the banks to suspend the measure over fears that many people who have been living legally in the United Kingdom may have been targeted incorrectly.“What I have asked officials to do is to contact those banks again and tell them not to go ahead with that until I am more comfortable that we have got it right,” Javid said, Sky News reported. He added that thousands of letters were sent to banks about individuals who the Home Office believed were illegal migrants.“I understand, if I have the dates right, at the start of this year; again, I do not have the number – letters in the thousands were sent to banks on individuals where the department believes they are illegal migrants and to close their bank accounts,” Javid said.According to powers introduced in January this year under the 2016 Immigration Act, banks were required to check the identity of each current account holder against a Home Office-supplied database. In instances where it was suspected that an account was being used by an undocumented immigrants, the Home Office would review it before it asked the bank to take the necessary step which included closing the account.“The Tories seem to be attempting a panicked and piece-meal retreat from their own immigration policy. However, this temporary U-turn applies to just one element of their hostile environment, when the policy as a whole must be ended permanently,” shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott was quoted as saying by the Guardian. Related ItemsSajid JavidUnited Kingdomlast_img

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