Immigration checks on UK bank accounts have been suspended

Newly elected Home Secretary Sajid Javid has suspended controversial immigration checks on UK bank accounts in the light of the Windrush scandal. In January 2018, under the Immigration Act 2016, Theresa May gave power to the UK banks to conduct quarterly checks of the identity of every account holder against Home Office database in order to create “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants. The data of the suspicious accounts were shared with the Home Office for review.  The Home Office was able to instruct bank to take further actions including closing the accounts if in doubt. Home Office did not publish any statistics on the amount of the closed accounts but a privately run investigation found that there was 10% possibility of errors occurring in account checks due to maladministration, incorrect data and other factors.  

These checks are temporary suspended after doubts were raised over their reliability. This decision was made after the growing problems highlighted by Windrush scandal. Several individuals of Windrush generation were mistakenly identified as illegal immigrants and were deprived of their right to work, benefits and medical care.  Last week it was announced that NHS is no longer required to share patient data with the Home Office. Furthermore, in April 2018, Department for Education also confirmed that schools will not collect pupil nationality data.

Posted in English on May 17, 2018.