A government clampdown has prompted banks and building societies to begin immigration checks of millions of current account holders.
Launched by ministers to bring about a ‘hostile environment’ for individuals staying in the UK illegally, banks and building societies are required under the scheme to corroborate all current account holders immigration status against details of identified unlawful migrants who have been detained by authorities.
If an account has been identified as being operated by an illegal migrant, it would be brought to the notice of the Home Office. After carrying out a check, officials will give instructions to the banks or building societies on the course of the action that should be taken, leading to a possible shut down of the account.
Caroline Nokes, Immigration Minister, was quoted by The Guardian as saying that these steps would make it tougher for illegal migrants to live or reside in the UK.
Adding that it would not affect those staying in Britain lawfully, she said that they ought to be firm with people violating the rules because unlawful immigration affects society as a whole.
Nokes said that those living and residing in the country unlawfully can bring down the wages of legal workers, letting mischievous employers’ hurt lawful business houses and increasing pressure on public services which are funded by taxpayers.
She said that by confronting abuse in this manner, they could come up with an immigration system which would be in the country’s interests and prevents helpless people from being exploited.
It was reiterated by the Home Office that only details will be shared of those illegal migrants who should be deported from the UK, or others who have circumvented immigration control. It added that it would not affect people with unsettled applications or appeals, including asylum seekers, and also those who have been permitted to stay in the UK, including refugees.
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