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.