Labour Opposes Clamp Down on Illegally Working Immigrants’ Bank Accounts

Labour MPs were whipped on Wednesday to oppose a measure which the government says will make it easier for banks and the Home Office to track the financial activity of illegal migrants. The Immigration Act 2014 (Current Accounts) (Excluded Accounts and Notification Requirements) Regulations 2016 orders banks to pass on customer information through a secure computer system to the Home Office if accounts are held by “disqualified persons” – migrants who have exhausted all rights of appeal and are liable to be removed from the United Kingdom. Banks must also report if disqualified persons are in receipt of regular payments of £200 or more. The explanatory note to the measure says:

“This information allows the Home Office to confirm the match and make a decision about whether to apply to the court for a freezing order or instruct the firm that it is under a duty to close accounts. The payments threshold is intended to ensure that the Home Office are able to identify significant patterns of payments that may constitute evidence of illegal working.”

Guido understands there were murmurs of despair in the division lobby as it dawned on Labour MPs that they would be seen as going soft on illegally working immigrants trying access financial services. A few are understood to have hot-footed it to the table office to try to get their names taken off the vote list. Those who have sounded a tougher line on immigration were notable by their absence: Yvette Cooper, Tom Watson, Ian Austin, Rachel Reeves and Emma Reynolds missed the vote. Another gift to Paul Nuttall…




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