This article was first published by Spear’s Magazine on 18 October 2017.
Banks are to be expected to police over 70 million accounts under the Home Office’s new crackdown on illegal migrants, opening up a Pandora’s Box of problems, even for HNWs with valid immigration status, writes Sarah Gogan.
New government rules will force UK banks to search bank accounts for illegal migrants. Since the introduction of the Immigration Act 2014, UK banks and building societies have been prohibited from opening current accounts for individuals who are in the UK illegally. However, new measures which will come into force on 1 January 2018 take this a step further. From this date and on a quarterly basis, banks will be forced to check their customers against a Home Office list of known visa overstayers (the ‘baddies’) and the perceived source of all that is wrong with the UK: illegal migrants. If the bank suspects that the customer does not have the right to be in the UK, then it will be bound to notify the Home Office who will then obtain a court order to freeze the account. The aim of this is to create a ‘hostile environment for illegal migration.’