The government also plans to introduce proportionate penalties for those who make a single honest mistake, and much heavier penalties, up to £3,000 per tenant, for rogue landlords who repeatedly and deliberately break the law.
Immigration Minister Mark Harper said:
There is no doubt that immigrants have helped make Britain a richer and stronger society, but we must be wary of uncontrolled immigration, which can cause a range of problems for the UK.
This is exactly why we want to introduce penalties for landlords who let property to those with no right to be here. We believe these proposals will hit rogue landlords where it hurts – their pockets.
At the same time, we do not want to disadvantage legitimate landlords and have devised a system which is effective, while light-touch. This will make it tough for illegal immigrants to rent property, but just as importantly, will allow the government to take tough action against rogue landlords who exploit vulnerable migrants.
The changes proposed under this consultation will also:
Benefit communities blighted by unlawful structures, known as ‘beds in sheds’, and overcrowded houses that can bring social problems and costs to local communities
Be modelled closely on existing controls for the employment of illegal workers, which are well established and have operated successfully for the last five years.
Ahead of the consultation launch, the Immigration Minister accompanied Home Office Enforcement Officers on early morning enforcement raids across three suspected so-called ‘beds in sheds’ properties in Hayes.
The Hayes raids, organised in conjunction with Hillingdon Council, led to the arrest of two men – one Indian male who had overstayed a work visa and a failed asylum seeker who had absconded. A further raid on a residential address in Southall led to the arrest of five Pakistani nationals for overstaying offences.
Immigration Minister Mark Harper added:
These raids serve to highlight exactly the sort of conditions that many illegal migrants are forced to live in on a daily basis.
Many of these properties are barely habitable, which is exactly why we must be able to take firmer action against those who persist in abusing the immigration system for their own profit.
This consultation, which will run until 21 August 2013, is being launched alongside another Home Office consultation to prevent illegal migrants from renting privately.
In addition, The Department of Health has launched a consultation into how the NHS can improve their ability to claim back money and enforce charges for care in hospitals and primary care from European and non European visitors. They’ve also launched an independent audit to investigate how migrants use the NHS - and the true cost and impact they have.