Private landlords are set to become an extra line in UK Border Control as they will be legally responsible for ensuring that they only let rental properties to people allowed to be in the UK under immigration laws announced in the Queen’s Speech.
This means that Private Rental Sector (PRS) and social housing landlords will have a responsibility to make sure their tenants are in the country legally
Over 3 million buy-to-let landlords are rental property owners in the UK private sector and will be responsible for checking the immigration status of all potential tenants, with fines running into thousands of pounds for those breaking the law.
Employers will also face more substantial fines for employing on illegal immigrants.
It appears that UK landlords and employers are expected to police the immigration system as unpaid members of the UK Border Agency.
Landlords are being given additional responsibility with no recompense other than the threat of heavy fines for failure to comply. Why are we expected to do the UK Border Agency’s job for them when they are paid handsomely for failing to do the job they are employed by the Government to do?
Does this mean that Landlords will be given a financial incentive to turn informant?
I don’t think so…
The new measures are included in an amended Immigration Bill will also limit the ability of European migrants to claim UK state benefits and ensure that the right to residence in the UK on the basis of family commitments is not abused by criminal elements. The UK judicial system will be expected to balance the nature and seriousness of the crime committed against the right to remain resident in the UK.
Temporary migrants will be charged for use of NHS services and only those who have lived in an area for at least two years will qualify for social housing. Regulations will also be amended to ensure that European immigrants cannot claim benefits for more than six months if they do not actively seek legal employment and show they have a genuine chance of obtaining work.
The legislation has been drawn up as the Coalition Government struggles to contain the electoral threat posed by the UK Independence Party (UKIP), which has hard-line immigration policies.
The details of how the measures will be implemented will be set out later in the year. The plans will be the subject of a formal consultation in the coming months.
Ministers expect the legal requirements on landlords will affect those letting rooms in houses of multiple occupancy (HMO) properties. However, the measure will be universal and it will be the responsibility of all landlords to seek copies of passports and appropriate visas.
It is unclear how landlords are supposed to verify the authenticity of documentation, as many employers have already discovered to their cost since the tightening of employment rules surrounding immigrant workers, as falsified information has no way of being checked and is only up to the diligence of the employer to ascertain the true identity of their employees.
The limit of the financial penalties set to be levied on landlords who fail to comply is also yet to be decided but is expected to be severe and may run into thousands of pounds.
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