New measure stops irregular migrants in UK from opening bank accounts

A new measure to stop irregular migrants from opening bank accounts in the UK is now in force.

The measure, which is part of the Immigration Act, also bars the banks and building societies from opening a current account for immigration offenders who are on the anti-fraud CIFAS database.

The banks and building societies are now required to carry out the CIFAS checks and should they find out that the applicant has no leave to enter or remain in the UK, they must refuse to open the account. If firms do not comply, the FCA will be able to levy financial penalties, restrict a firm’s deposit-taking permissions, or even bring forward criminal sanctions.

By preventing irregular migrants from opening current accounts, it will be more difficult for them to subsequently gain access to credit cards, mortgages or loans.

Immigration and Security Minister, James Brokenshire said: “For too long it has been too easy for people to live in Britain despite having no right to be here.

“These changes, as part of the Immigration Act, will make Britain a less attractive place for those who come here for the wrong reasons, and allow us to remove more people when they have no right to remain.”