From the beginning of 2018 banks and building societies are required to carry out immigration status checks against a government database of individuals without leave to remain in the UK. The checks must be conducted every quarter starting in January.
Checks are to be conducted on all those who hold current accounts as well as those applying for current accounts. If you are identified as being disqualified from holding an account, then under the Immigration Act 2014 the bank or building society must close your bank account or refuse your application to open an account. This includes restricting access where the person is a signatory, identified beneficiary or the account is jointly held with a non-disqualified person. The Home Office also has the power to apply to the courts for a freezing order in respect of one or more accounts operated by the disqualified person.
When the government assessed the changes previously, it was assumed that as many as 76 million current accounts would be checked and around 6,000 matches with its database would be found in the first year. However, there are widespread concerns that the Home Office’s records are not always accurate and those with every right to be in the UK may be affected by these errors.
If a bank or building society closes your current account or refuses your application and you believe there has been a mistake, the Home Office will need to be contacted with evidence of your immigration status in the UK to amend the situation.
Should you have any queries in respect of the above, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.