UK Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that effective January 2018, banks and building societies in Britain will carry out UK visa status checks on over 70 million current accounts. The UK Government plans to freeze bank accounts of those who have stayed in the UK beyond the duration stipulated on their visas. The plan targets UK visa overstayers, failed asylum seekers and overseas foreign nationals facing deportation. As per the provisions of the UK Immigration Act of 2014, UK visa status checks are conducted for those who open new building society accounts or new bank accounts.
The UK Home Office claims that the decision to freeze bank accounts of illegal immigrants will provoke them to voluntarily leave the UK as they would be keen to secure their money. However, there are apprehensions that migrants with valid UK visas are likely to suffer due to mistakes which may be made when checks are carried out. In case a person is incorrectly determined to be an illegal immigrant, banks and building societies have been directed by the Government to inform the customers to report errors to the Home Office.
Isha Kalwant Singh, Legal Intern
(Keywords: visa status, Current account, Illegal immigrant, Building society account, Bank account)