Banks to carry out checks on 70 million accounts in illegal immigration crackdown
Banks are to carry out checks on all current accounts in a bid to identify illegal immigrants living in Britain, it has emerged.
The move, mandated by the Home Office as part of a new Government crackdown, is expected to identify 6,000 visa overstayers.
When identified, banks will pass on a list to the Government of people liable for removal or deportation.
Banks and building societies will then close the accounts of those identified in a bid to “create a powerful incentive” for them to leave the country, according to a Home Office official impact assessment.
Some 70 million bank accounts will be checked when the crackdown begins in January, according to The Guardian.
Although Home Secretary Amber Rudd insisted legal migrants will be allowed to keep using their bank accounts, campaigners warned the change will affect those with “every right to be here”.
Satbir Singh, chief executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, said: "The Government's own record shows that it cannot be trusted even to implement this system properly.
"Immigration status is very complex, and the Home Office consistently gives out incorrect information and guidance."
A Home Office spokesman said: "We are developing an immigration system which is fair to people who are here legally, but firm with those who break the rules.
"Everyone in society can play their part in tackling illegal migration."
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