Government Set To U-Turn On Immigration Checks By Landlords

Government Set To U-Turn On Immigration Checks By Landlords

Immigration Checks Unworkable Say Critics

There could be a moral victory for common sense on the cards as the UK Government are set to perform yet another U-Turn on policies as they are forced to back down on requiring landlords to conduct immigration checks on all tenants.

The Government plan was announced in the Queen’s Speech back in May and intended to force private rented sector (PRS) landlords to check their tenants’ immigration status or face fines of up to £3,000 (GBP).

Under the intended reform, all UK landlords and letting agents would be forced to check the immigration status of every tenant and tenants would have to produce documents showing they have permission to be in the UK.

There are also been concerns raised about landlords’ ongoing responsibilities for tenants already in their rental properties whose status may have gone from legal to illegal. Under the proposals, first-time offenders could face fines of £1,000 (GBP) per illegal immigrant in their rental properties. Landlords who failed to make proper checks within the last three years could also be fined £3,000 (GBP) per tenant.

However, critics of the scheme say there are a large number of different documents which many lay people would not be able to understand and questions have been raised as to how it could be policed, given the Border Agency’s own record of failings.

However, according to a report in the Daily Mail, the original plans are in utter chaos and unworkable so will have to be dramatically scaled back.

The report says both Conservative and Liberal Democrat ministers have warned that the proposal risks criminalising many small private rental sector landlords, and that they should not be treated as unpaid extensions of the Government’s UK Border Agency.

A Home Office source confirmed to the newspaper that the legislation would probably be limited to small-scale pilot schemes before being quietly abandoned.

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