Duncan Lewis

Private landlords to check on migrants for immigration documents before letting properties

Date: (8 May 2013)    |    

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The Queen’s speech tomorrow is to include immigration laws that would ensure that properties let by private landlords are only let to people who are allowed to be in Britain.

Around two million buy to let property owners will be made to don the mantle of checking the UK immigration status prior to letting properties failing which they may be subject to fines running into thousands of pounds. Employers will also face more substantial fines for taking on illegal immigrants.

These measures are going to prompt questions over whether ordinary people and employers were being made responsible for policing the immigration system after the UK Border Agency’s repeated failures in its duty.

They are included in an Immigration Bill which will also limit the ability of European immigrants to claim benefits and ensure that the right to reside in Britain on the basis of family commitments is not abused by criminals.
Temporary migrants will also be charged for using the NHS and only those who have lived in an area for at least two years will qualify for social housing.
With a surging UK Independence Party attracting voters with its hard line immigration policies the legislation is being seen as doing some damage control before the coming general elections.
The Queen’s Speech, which sets out the legislative programme for the next year, is expected to contain more than a dozen parliamentary Bills. Measures to reform the state pension, cap the costs of long-term care, rehabilitate criminals and reduce regulations on business will be outlined. A National Insurance Contributions Bill will cut the cost of the tax for smaller firms taking on employees, and a Consumer Rights Bill will improve the rights of online shoppers.
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 are expected to say that the legal requirements on landlords will affect those letting rooms in multi-occupancy properties. However, the measure will be universal and it will be the responsibility of all landlords to seek copies of passports and appropriate visas.
Though there is no clarity on how these people are going to establish the authenticity of the information. The Immigration Bill will also contain provisions to ensure human rights laws allowing people to stay in Britain under right to family life is not abused by criminals. Courts will be ordered to “balance” the seriousness of the crime committed against the right to remain in Britain.
Regulations will also be amended to ensure that European immigrants cannot claim “certain benefits for more than six months” if they do not actively seek work and show they have a genuine chance of seeking employment. Other measures will limit the right of immigrants to claim legal aid, closing a loophole which allows those here illegally to rack up taxpayer-funded bills fighting deportation.