The Immigration Act 2016 bank account measures only apply to disqualified persons. These are known illegal migrants who are liable for removal or deportation from the UK, and the Secretary of State for the Home Department considers that they should be denied access to banking services.
Legal migrants who satisfy commercial requirements for opening and operating an account will continue to have access to services.
The accuracy of the disqualified person data is subject to rigorous checks by the Home Office before it is shared with banks and building societies, and a current account will only be reported to the Home Office if there is a clear data match based on the customer’s name, address and date of birth.
Banks and building societies are obliged to report any matches to the Home Office. The Home Office will then carry out a secondary immigration status check and, only when instructed by the Home Office, will the bank or building society be required to take steps to prevent continued access to existing accounts.
If despite all the checks a person considers they are lawfully present in the UK and that incorrect information has been provided, they can contact the Home Office so that any error in the Home Office’s records can be immediately rectified.
The 2016 Act measures came into force on 30 October. As detailed in secondary legislation regulations, banks and building societies are legally required to conduct their first immigration check on all existing personal current accounts in the first calendar quarter of 2018.