Life is becoming difficult for irregular immigrants in the UK as the banks and building societies launch checks on the immigration status of all personal current account holders.
The move is part of the government’s measures to encourage those in the UK illegally to leave the country.
The checks are being done against the details of known irregular migrants which the Home Office is sharing with Cifas, an anti-fraud organisation.
Once a bank or building society has found a personal current account that is being operated by an irregular migrant, the Home Office will double check the details before instructing the bank or building society on action to take, which may include closing the account.
In cases where criminality is suspected, the Home Office may apply to the courts for an order instructing the bank or building society to freeze the individual’s accounts.
Home Office said they are only sharing details of irregular migrants who are liable for removal or deportation from the UK or who have absconded from immigration control.
“We consider these individuals should be denied access to banking services,” Home Office said.
Minister for Immigration Caroline Nokes said: “These new measures are part of our commitment to make it more difficult for people with no right to live or work in the UK to remain here.
“This will not affect those who are in the UK legally, but we must be firm with those who break the rules as illegal immigration impacts the whole of society. Those living and working in the UK illegally can drive down the wages of lawful workers, allow rogue employers to undercut legitimate businesses and put pressure on taxpayer-funded public services.”
She added that by tackling abuse in this way, they “can build an immigration system which works in the best interests of the country and prevents vulnerable people from finding themselves at risk of exploitation.”