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Posted on July 9th 2013 by admin-movingin

Illegal immigrants to be banned from renting accommodation in UK

Private landlords will be breaking the law if they let to illegal immigrants without first doing checks.

The proposal is part of a consultation on the forthcoming Immigration Bill, now launched by the Minister of State for Immigration, Mark Harper.

Under the Bill, illegal immigrants would not get free NHS treatment and they would be prohibited from renting accommodation in the UK.

Harper said: “The consultation seeks views on the creation of a duty to require landlords to conduct immigration status checks on tenants before providing residential accommodation, with financial penalties for those landlords who let property to illegal migrants having failed to conduct the necessary checks.

“The landlord checking proposal is modelled on the existing civil penalty scheme for employers of illegal migrant workers.”

The proposals have met with a mixed reaction.

Richard Lambert, chief executive officer of the National Landlords Association, said: “The NLA welcomes the Government’s consultation on its plans to require private landlords to check the immigration status of all new tenants. 

“If this is to work, it is vital that the system is simple, straightforward and easy for landlords to use and understand.

“It makes sense to base the requirements on the established system used by employers to verify that individuals have the right to work in the UK, not least because there is a clear acknowledgement that employers, like landlords, are not immigration experts.

“They can only be expected to carry out reasonable checks that someone is who they say they are, and that they have the documentation to prove they have the right to be here.”

However, the Residential Landlords Association said that 82% of private sector landlords do not support the proposals to compel them to carry out immigration checks.

It said that the proposal will penalise those legally allowed to stay in the country as rents will rise “due to letting agents ramping up fees to cover the costs of further checks on tenants”.

Alan Ward, the RLA’s chairman, said: “The private rented sector is already creaking under the weight of red tape, so it is little wonder that landlords are so clearly opposed to this flagship Government measure.

“Whilst the RLA fully supports measures to ensure everyone in the UK is legally allowed to be here, this proposal smacks of political posturing rather than a seriously thought through policy.

“For a Government committed to reducing the burden of regulation, it is ironic that they are now seeking to impose a significant extra burden on landlords, making them scapegoats for the UK Border Agency’s failings.”

The consultation runs for seven weeks.