UK Immigration Act 2016: Tougher Sanctions for Landlords & Employers

On 12 May 2016, The UK immigration Bill 2016 received Royal assent in parliament and will now be known as the Immigration Act 2016. The Immigration Act 2016 aims to tighten current UK immigration rules as the Government continues in its attempt to bring down net migration and crackdown on rogue employers, illegal working and rogue landlords. The Immigration Bill which is 236 pages long can be viewed here. Here, we will explore the new provisions and what effects they may have on landlords and UK Employers (Tier 2 Sponsors).

Landlords and Employers Face Tougher Sanctions

The new measures requires landlords to comply with stricter immigration rules and a consequence of failure to do so may is that landlords may be liable to pay a civil penalty of up to £3000 per illegal migrant tenant. The new Act also aims to assist landlords and simplify the procedure of evicting illegal migrant tenants.  Previously landlords were strictly required to obtain a court order regardless of the situation and there was no room for manoeuvre. However the new changes have made it easier to evict illegal migrant tenants without the need to obtain a court order. Landlords shall be required to obtain a notice from the Home Office which confirms the tenant is not entitled to rent a property in the UK due to their immigration status. The government have shown intent to crack down on rouge landlords by introducing four new criminal offences to target landlords who exploit migrants by failing to meet the requirements set.  A failure to satisfy these requirements could lead to up to 5 years imprisonment, fines and further sanctions under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The new immigration Act introduces sanctions for employers who are found employing migrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) without the proper licenses. UKVI officials will have the power to close business premises for up to 48 hours however if an employer can prove that they have conducted proper right to work checks, the closure notice may be cancelled. Where they cannot, the business may be placed under special compliance requirements, as directed by the courts. This can include continued closure for a period, followed by re-opening subject to compliance inspections and the requirement to conduct right to work checks.

Immigration Skills Charge For Tier 2 Sponsors

The Government wants to reduce the need for skilled migrant workers by reforming the UK labour market rules and consequently contributing to reducing non-EEA net migration. The Act introduces a new immigration skills charge which will be applied to employers sponsoring non-EEA nationals who come to the UK under Tier 2 of the Points-Based System.

Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said:

“In the past it has been too easy for some businesses to bring in workers from overseas rather than to take the long-term decision to train our workforce here at home. “It is only right to recover some of the costs of running our immigration system by making sure that those who benefit directly from it contribute appropriately – so the expense to the UK taxpayer is less. “Our reforms will ensure that businesses are able to attract the skilled migrants they need, but we also want them to get far better at recruiting and training UK workers first.”

UK Immigration Legal Advice for Landlords and Employers

Business owners sponsoring migrants from outside the EEA must ensure that they are legally registered to sponsor migrants and must have a valid Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence. If the Home Office has contacted you in relation to carrying out a compliance visit at your business premises, contact us for legal advice. You can also contact us if you have been issued with a Civil Penalty Notice and feel you have grounds to appeal against it.

Our team of experienced and professionally qualified immigration solicitors and barristers bear in mind the paramount duty of all legal representatives to act in your best interest whilst complying with the strict letter of the law. Our team of specialists can be distinguished from other law firms with our client tailored approach and scrutiny of options available to you from the outset. We will be able to advise you in respect of the merits of your application by providing you with advice from our leading team of barristers before your matter even reaches the Home Office.

If you have instructed legal representatives and you are unhappy with their conduct you can contact us to discuss your case so that we can provide you with a case assessment. To contact one of our Immigration Solicitors or Immigration Barristers please complete our legal case assessment form and we will get in touch or call us on +442030110276 for a telephone case assessment.

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