Immigration Enforcement Accelerated in the UK

Last weekend, UK Visa and Immigration carried out numerous Immigration Enforcement operations across the UK in an attempt to catch rogue landlords and employers. Previously the Home Office made it clear that employers and landlords must carry out the mandatory Right to Work and Right to Rent checks or could face criminal charges as well as substantial fixed penalties. It is evident that the UK Government has introduced strict changes under the Immigration Act 2016 to prevent the exploitation of vulnerable migrants as well as to control its borders.  Migrants without valid immigration status in the UK will now have to make a UK Visas and Immigration Application to regularise their status or could face hardship in finding employment and accommodation in the UK.

Immigration Enforcement – Right to Rent under the Immigration Act 2016

Under the Immigration Act 2016, landlords who fail to conduct a mandatory Right to Rent check may have committed a criminal offence under Section 39 of the Immigration Act 2016. The UK Border Agency arrested 200 people during the operation cracking down on illegal renting and rogue landlords renting unsuitable properties for maximum and easy profit. Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis has said:

These operations show that we will not tolerate people living and working illegally in the UK. Illegal working cheats the taxpayer, has a negative impact on the wages of lawful workers and allows rogue employers to undercut legitimate businesses.

Landlords and agents must check the immigration status of all tenants prior to them moving in. There is no fixed way of carrying out a Right to Rent Check but the Home Office Policy Guidance provides valuable information on how to conduct a Right to Rent check to avoid Immigration Enforcement.

To carry out a Right to Rent check the following can be carried out:

  • Firstly, request for original ID documents showing the tenant’s Immigration Status in the UK:
  • Secondly, make copies of all ID documents showing Immigration Status, it is important landlords and agents understand the validity of travel documents and the different UK Visas; and
  • Thirdly, landlords and agents should carry out these checks every 3 months in order to remain compliant with the Right to Rent checks.

Whilst there are some defences available for landlords and agents, it is important that all the necessary checks are carried out prior to a tenant moving in.  A potential defence for landlords and agents could be an innocent mistake; essentially the Immigration Act 2016 makes it clear that the landlords and agents will only be guilty if they knowingly rent a property to a person who does not hold valid UK Immigration Status or there was valid cause to believe that a tenant does not hold valid Immigration status.

Immigration Enforcement – Right to Work under the Immigration Act 2016

Similarly, employers are required to conduct a Right to Work check before employing overseas migrants in the UK.  The purpose of the Right to Work check is to prevent illegal working in the UK and the exploitation of illegal workers.  Employers who fail to conduct a mandatory Right to Work Check may have committed a criminal offence under Section 34 of the Immigration Act 2016 and would need to answer to Immigration Enforcement.

Similarly, there is no one way of conducting a Right to Work Check but the following must be covered:

  • Firstly, request for original ID documents showing the worker’s Immigration Status in the UK:
  • Secondly, make copies of all ID documents showing Immigration Status, it is important UK employers understand the validity of travel documents and the different UK Visas; and
  • Thirdly, employers should carry out these checks every 3 months in order to remain compliant with the Right to Work checks.

A Failure to carry out a Right to Work check could result in a fixed penalty fine of up to £20,000 per illegal migrant as well as a two-year prison sentence. Similarly to the Right to Rent, it is only considered to be a criminal offence where someone had reasonable cause to believe that a potential employee may not have valid immigration status.   Businesses could also suffer serious penalties such as downgrading of their Tier 2 Sponsor Licence or in some occasions a withdrawal of a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence. If a business were to lose its Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, it would no longer be able to sponsor Tier 2 workers in the UK. Therefore from a business perspective, it is crucial for the Right to Work check to be carried out competently.

Using Legal Representation to conduct a Right to Rent or Right to Work Check

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on the law and your immigration matter. You can instruct one of our immigration and visa legal representatives to successfully assist you with a Right to Rent or Right to Work check. Our solicitors and Barristers will help you comply with the Home Office’s requirements and meet the UK Immigration Rules.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your Right to Rent or Right to Work check succeeds, our solicitors and barristers will ensure all specified documents must be provided.

The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successfully Conduct a Right to Rent or Right to Work Check

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your prospects of conducting a Right to Rent or Right to Work check ensuring you do not have any troubles with Immigration Enforcement. We regularly assist with Right to Rent and Right to Work checks for landlords/agents and employers ensuring the status of their Sponsor Licence is protected and that they do not have any problems with Immigration Enforcement.

Our offices are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to successful immigration Right to Rent or Right to Work checks. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation to discuss a UK Immigration & Visa Right to Rent or Right to Work check.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.

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