15 January 2018
"Hostile environment" faces criticism from parliamentary committee as new migration checks on bank accounts come into force
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The Commons home affairs select committee says the longstanding lack of any official analysis of the scale and nature of illegal immigration has allowed anxiety over the issue to grow unchecked, and it calls for the publication of an annual estimate based on exit check data."
See:MPs criticise error-hit 'hostile environment' for illegal immigrants (The Guardian, link):
"The cross-party committees report is the strongest parliamentary criticism of the Home Offices hostile environment measures, which include denying access to rented accommodation, revoking driving licences and closing the bank accounts of those listed as illegal immigrants.
It cites a 10% error rate in a Home Office list of disqualified people. Some people have been refused a new bank account because they were wrongly included on the list of those at risk of being told to leave the country."
See the Home Affairs Select Committee report: Immigration policy: basis for building consensus(pdf) and: Reform and public involvement needed to restore confidence in immigration system(parliament. uk, link)
The report comes just days after new rules came into force obliging banks to make immigraiton checks on holders of UK current accounts - the most recent element of the "hostile environment" policy.
See: Banks run immigration checks in Home Office crackdown (Sky News, link):
"Banks are to begin immigration checks on millions of accounts as part of a Home Office scheme to create a "hostile environment" for people living in the UK unlawfully.
The new scheme, which will be rolled out this month, requires banks and building societies to check all current account holders against a list of people liable for deportation or wanted by immigration enforcement."
And: Joint statement condemns immigration checks on bank account holders (Migrants' Rights Network, link):
"The Migrants Rights Network (MRN), Global Justice Now and No Borders in Banks condemn the Home Offices introduction of immigration checks on bank current account holders, which came into effect today.
We are deeply concerned by the adding of another element to the already pernicious and established hostile environment for migrants. We believe the measures will have harmful and discriminatory consequences including:
We are also worried by the lack of clarity around an appeals process for affected individuals. Moreover, given the Home Offices notorious track record in processing complaints, we fear any process eventually established will be poorly run and lengthy. This will further compound the issues raised above."
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