Crackdown on foreign nationals with unverified funds
The G20 leaders have endorsed a sweeping plan proposed by its Anti-Corruption Working Group (“ACWG“) in 2012 to tackle the illicit movement of proceeds of crime internationally by corrupt foreign nationals to other countries (usually done as part of an immigration process). The change is part of a global ‘denial of safe haven’ policy designed to ensure that countries are not facilitators of financial crime committed by foreign nationals, whether it be tax evasion, money laundering, corruption or business immigration fraud.
Immigration connection & politically exposed persons
In their G20 Declaration and in the ACWG Action Plan, member countries agreed to implement immigration policy changes to refuse immigration applications (effectively deny entry) where there is corruption, usually involving high net worth foreign nationals, or high profile foreign nationals with unverified (or unverifiable) sources of funds. They are usually, but not always, politically exposed persons in anti-money laundering law.
To deny entry, the G20 members have agreed that it is sufficient that there be information to make a determination as to potential corruption, and that a conviction is not required to deny entry. Moreover, the denial of entry of prospective immigrants will extend to family members and close associates who immigration authorities believe may have derived a benefit from corruption.
The decision to make policy as opposed to legislative changes, means that member countries do not have to implement laws to begin addressing the immigration of corrupt persons.
Countries will share immigration information
The G20 also agreed to start sharing information with each other to identify foreign nationals who may be seeking immigration with sources of funds from corruption, or who move proceeds of crime from corruption to other countries. The policy change is retroactive in the sense that foreign nationals who have already immigrated to G20 member countries who may be suspected of corruption will be identified.
And finally, G20 states have also agreed to assist each other in bringing such persons to justice in their home countries, by deportation and other means and to facilitate the recovery of assets from proceeds of crime by seizing assets and repatriating the assets to the home country through MLAs.
The policy change means that foreign nationals will have to be prepared to have their funds vetted and confirmed as part of the immigration application process, otherwise they risk not only refusal of immigration but being reported to their home country if their funds are unverifiable and potentially connected to corruption. Foreign nationals should take steps as part of their immigration application to consider obtaining an independent verification of source of funds to ensure that there are no issues with their applications that will impact them.
The G20 are China, Canada, Japan, South Africa, France, Turkey, USA, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Mexico, Korea, Italy, Indonesia, India, European Union, Germany, UK, Brazil, Argentina, Australia.