The Home Office has introduced new measures requiring banks and building societies to verify the immigration status of their current account holders. Anyone who entered the UK illegally, whose leave has expired/been revoked or who is an EEA national subject to deportation with no further rights of appeal will have their account closed. Anyone who considers that their account has been closed (or refused) in error will need to contact the Home Office (not their bank) via the UK Visas and Immigration complaints process. The problem here is that this complaints service aims to respond within 20 working days, during which time the account remains closed. There does not appear to be any emergency process for escalating a complaint when the account has been closed in error. Time will tell how effective these new powers are at restricting genuine disqualified persons, and whether unsuspecting individuals are caught in the cross-fire. Click here for further information on the Home Office’s new power.
Thousands of innocent people could have their bank accounts frozen as a result of new policy that will require banks to carry out identity checks as part of the Government’s latest crackdown on illegal immigrants. Changes coming into force next week will require banks and building societies to check 70 million current accounts each quarter. People whose visas have run out, failed asylum seekers and foreign national offenders facing deportation should then have their accounts closed down or frozen under the new legislation.