About the Immigration Act 2014
The Immigration Act 2014 requires banks and building societies who offer current accounts to check the Home Office's list of ‘disqualified persons’ before:
- Opening a new current account;
- Adding a new signatory or beneficiary to an existing current account.
Anyone on the Home Office's list of disqualified persons has exhausted their legal right to appeal in the UK and is either an illegal overstayer or an absconder. In the eyes of the law, they are criminals with no right to remain in the UK.
Ministers have decided that banks and building societies will access the disqualified persons data through Cifas.
The Act aims to stop illegal migrants accessing financial services in order to help create a hostile environment for anyone in the UK illegally.
The banking provisions of the Immigration Act 2014 came into force on 12 December 2014.
Accessing Home Office Immigration data
Existing Cifas members already have access to Home Office Immigration data. For those banks and building societies who are not members, Cifas has built a bespoke portal offering access to only this dataset: the Cifas Immigration Portal (CIP).
A list of all organisations that are currently accessing Home Office Immigration data through the CIP can be found here.
If you have any questions about how to access Home Office Immigration data through Cifas, either as an existing Cifas member or as a CIP user, please contact us at:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guidance for organisations
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have supplied a one minute guide to banks and building societies on the requirements of the Act. Cifas and the FCA have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding explaining how our two organisations will work together in order to support the successful implementation of the Act. You can read a copy of this here.
Immigration Act 2016
The Immigration Act 2016 builds on banking measures in the Immigration Act 2014, and places a statutory duty on banks and building societies to check details of their existing current account holders against a list of ‘disqualified persons’.
Where such checks identify that a current account holder is a “disqualified person”, the bank or building society is required to notify the Home Office and, when instructed by the Home Office, take steps to prevent continued access to existing accounts. The Home Office will either notify the bank or building society that it is under a duty to close the account as soon as reasonably practicable, or apply for a court order freezing the disqualified person’s account.
The banking measures come into force on 30 October, 2017. Banks and building societies will conduct their first check in January 2018. If you have questions for Cifas, please email us.
Guidance for the public
The FCA has updated their guidance to consumers on the process of opening a current account.
In addition, the Home Office has provided guidance to individuals whose applications for current accounts have been rejected due to their inclusion on the list of disqualified persons.
If you are a member of the public and have a question regarding the list of disqualified persons it is recommended that you contact the Home Office direct.