Is this the end of the Right to Bank Check under the Immigration Act 2016

Following on from the controversy and embarrassment from the Windrush Scandal the Home Office has taken an important step in suspending the Right to Bank check. The controversial Right to Bank Check was introduced to crack down on net immigration figures in the United Kingdom. However, the introduction of the Right to Bank check was not welcomed and it received heavy criticism. The Home Office was accused of deliberately introducing measures to add to Theresa May’s Hostile Environment Policy in an attempt to make the United Kingdom an undesirable place for anyone who does not hold a valid visa.        

What is the Right to Bank Check?

From 1 January 2018 banks were required to carry out immigration status checks on current account holders in the United Kingdom under the Immigration Act 2016. An account holder without valid immigration status must be reported to the Home Office. Following this, the Home Office will work hand in hand with the bank to shut down the account immediately.  Banks and building societies who fail to comply with the Right to Bank Check will be held accountable by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). A direct consequence of failing to comply with a Right to Bank Check may be financial penalties, restrictions and in some extreme cases criminal sanctions.

Problems with the Right to Bank Check?

One of the main concerns for politicians and lawyers is that these policies can be incorrectly applied and innocent people will fall victim to the Hostile Environment Policy. There could be a dozen different reasons to why someone may not hold a valid visa starting from a Home Office error, a pending application or appeal. In some circumstances, Applicants hold varied leave or their leave is extended under Section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971. The United Kingdom’s immigration system is very complicated and often requires expert knowledge. It is absurd to expect financial institutions to be aware of complex immigration issues with visas. Therefore there is a strong chance that financial institutions could make the incorrect decision which could result in devastating consequences for potential victims.

As a result of the Windrush scandal, the Home Office has taken a U-turn and suspended Right to Bank checks indefinitely. However, there have been calls to scrap the Hostile Environment Policy as a whole. The shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbot has also recently publicly opposed the Hostile Environment Policy stating:

“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.”

It is now to be seen whether the new Home Secretary Sajid Javid will continue to withdraw the controversial immigration policies introduced by his predecessors.

Regularising your status in the UK by submitting a UK Visas and Immigration Application

The Home Office claims that the purpose of the Right to Bank, Right to Work and Right to Rent checks is to encourage people to regularise their status and become legal in the United Kingdom. However, the Home Office has been accused of bullying migrants out of the United Kingdom by making it difficult for them to live a normal everyday life. It is impossible for a migrant to remain in the United Kingdom if they are denied access to everyday essentials such as banking, working and renting. Therefore it is essential for migrants who do not hold valid immigration status to make an application to the Home Office.

We understand that in some circumstances Applicants are reluctant to come forward and ask for legal assistance. In most cases, this is because Applicants have overstayed their previous visa or may have entered the United Kingdom illegally. However, if there are compassionate and exceptional factors involved in your immigration matter it is important for the Home Office to be made aware. Our immigration team regularly submit submissions to the Home Office on behalf of our clients assisting them to regularise their status. There is a wide of immigration applications that can be explored in a consultation meeting. There are business related immigration applications for high net worth individuals or business people. Alternatively, there are also individual immigration applications for family members of present and settled people in the United Kingdom.

Using Legal Representation to Comply with the Right to Bank Check and Regularise your UK Immigration Status

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status ensuring you comply with the Right to Bank Check. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to assist you with understanding and complying with a Right to Bank Check.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.

This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that you comply with the Right to Bank Check.

Successfully Comply with the Right to Bank Check and Regularise your UK Immigration Status

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and whether you comply with the Right to Bank Check before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration and visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

Our offices are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form

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