Last year we wrote about the introduction of new Immigration laws, which meant private landlords would be fined for renting properties to people living in the UK without permission. The fines can affect any landlord who fails to make sure that the person who they are renting to has immigration status, a task which the Home Office themselves struggle to get right more often than should be the case.
Landlords in England can now be imprisoned if they fail to evict tenants believed to have no permission to be in the UK, with a new power to evict those people without the need of a court order. Evicting anyone else without a court order is already a criminal offence, so good luck to all Landlords, not just the “Rogues” the Government say this law will target, confidently walking the line between the two crimes.
This is all part of the ‘hostile new environment’ which the Government is creating for those in the UK without permission but it puts the onus and the pressure upon normal people to police immigration, rather than the Government taking steps to tackle the situation.
Even without considering the impact on Landlords, throwing someone out on the street, preventing them having a bank account or a driving license does not lead to them leaving the country. It’s a lot harder to leave the UK illegally than it is to enter it in that way, despite how difficult the individuals at Calais are making it appear at the moment.
If anything, preventing someone having a safe home or having any means of support makes them more likely to work illegally, damagin
g the economy and enabling them to buy fake ID, instead of relying on friends or charity while they establish their right to live in the UK in a law abiding way. It’s difficult to see how throwing a person out of a house, meaning they no longer have a fixed abode at which they can be located by Immigration Officers, helps the authorities to remove that person from the country, particularly when leaving voluntarily is not something they feel able to do.
There seems little need for this new measure, along with those introduced last year, when there are already laws against assisting someone in remaining in the UK illegally. Those existing laws could easily be used to prosecute landlords or anyone else felt by the Government to be harbouring illegal immigrants.
It is the lack of effective removal of illegal immigrants by the Government, both voluntarily and forced, which enables those people to continue living here: Not some failing on the part of private individuals or businesses to check the validity of visas and passports, as the new measures appear to be pointing the finger at.
If you’re one of the majority of private landlords who aren’t familiar with the intricacies of Section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971 and the myriad other provisions which establish whether a person is in the UK legally or not, give our Immigration Department a call and we’ll be happy to help.
If you’re a landlord who has already fallen foul of this harsh legislation, best speak to someone in our Crime Department.