‘Right to Rent’ scheme pilot proves unsuccessful

According to government figures, its pilot scheme implemented to force landlords to check the immigration status of prospective tenants in the West Midlands, or face fines of up to £3,000 per tenant, has been unsuccessful.

Under the ‘Right to Rent’ scheme, a pivotal part of the government’s attempt to counter illegal immigration, landlords are obliged to see evidence of a person’s right to remain in the UK by examining their passport or biometric residence permit.

However in the nine months since the rules were enforced, there were only seven landlords penalised, facing average fines of only £800 according to documents released to the Economist under the Freedom of Information Act. Moreover, a secondary investigation found that the scheme may also have encouraged discrimination against non-British prospective tenants.

Despite this data and growing fears that the scheme will prove unworkable, it is now set to be extended across the country. Penalties have also been stiffened as part of a new immigration bill, while landlords will also be given powers to evict people who don’t have leave to remain in the UK.

It is debatable whether the ‘Right to Rent’ scheme introduced by the government is a viable solution to tackling the problem of illegal immigration in the UK. However, as pressure mounts on the Prime Minister to act with the inexorable issues continuing in Calais, it could certainly be seen as a sign of positive intent. In addition whether the pilot proves to be representative of a country-wide implementation is yet to be seen. To stay up to date with news on the ‘Right to Rent’ scheme, and all other immigration matters, don’t hesitate to sign up to our newsletter.

UKVI’s Online Application Service expands

The UKVI Online Application Service, provided by the Immigration Platform Technologies (IPT) Programme, is helping create a far more user-friendly online application form and payment process. It is serving both customers abroad and in the UK who are applying to enter or remain in the UK respectively. The Service, which has catered for over 160,000 applications thus far, has been used principally for Tier 2 Standard and Priority Postal applications. However, a number of changes are soon to be introduced which will further improve applying under not only Tier 2, but also Tiers 1 and 5.

Over the next few weeks, the Online Application Service will be extended to include the Premium Service, which will soon be available to all Tier 2 customers and their Dependants, as well as Tier 1, 2 and 5 Dependent ‘joiners’ applying individually. Booking the premium service appointment will become part of their online application process.

Consequently Standard, Priority Postal and Premium services for all Tier 2 applicants applying separately or as a family group will be available on the Online Application Service. The Service will also become available to Tier 1, 2 and 5 dependent ‘joiners’ applying together as a group.

Both customers and legal representatives will be happy to see such changes. Not only are application forms shorter, asking questions that are in logical order and specific to the particular application, there is also no need to set up an account on the Service as an email address and password are all that is required to login. A unique hyperlink is then sent for each application. Moreover, the Service redirects to, and shares information with, the IHS portal. This therefore minimises the need to obtain an IHS reference number separately from the Online Application Service itself.

A few important points to take note of include:

  • The date of application is the date the form is submitted online. This date will be displayed in the PDF application form.
  • The Online Application Service is not yet available for Tier 1 and Tier 5 Main Applicants or family groups.

For more information on the Online Application Service and any future changes, please contact us