Just 31 Illegal Migrants Removed from the UK Through Right to Rent Rules
Just 31 illegal migrants have been removed from the UK through Right to Rent rules, according to statements made by Government ministers.
Following controversy over how effective the Right to Rent scheme will be at removing illegal migrants from the country, Labour’s Baroness Lister of Burtersett questioned the Government on how many landlords and tenants have been investigated under Right to Rent rules in the past year.
The Right to Rent scheme was introduced on 1st February 2016 in a bid to prevent illegal migrants’ access to the private rental sector.
Many landlords have struggled to understand their responsibilities concerning the rules, with recent research suggesting that the scheme is causing a great deal of worry to investors.
While landlords can now be imprisoned for failing to comply with Right to Rent rules, it appears that the scheme may not be proving as effective as the Government may have hoped.
Responding to Baroness Lister’s request on how many illegal migrants have been identified and removed from the UK through the scheme, the Minister of State for the Home Department, Baroness Williams of Trafford, explained that the Home Office does not hold information about the overall number of illegal migrants found living in private rental accommodation.
However, she did present some figures on how many illegal migrants have been identified through enforcement action.
She explained: “Our records show that between the start of the scheme and 30th September 2016, 654 individuals were either named on a Civil Penalty Referral Notice served on a landlord, or encountered on an enforcement visit during which such a Notice was served, or encountered as a result of information provided through the Landlords Checking Service, or encountered as a result of other intelligence provided about property let to illegal migrants.
“Of these individuals, 31 were removed from the UK over the same period. Other cases may be being progressed to removal, or have been made subject to reporting restrictions, or have sought to regularise their stay, or have left the UK voluntarily.”
Baroness Williams then went on to defend the scheme: “The Right to Rent scheme is designed to restrict access to the private rented sector for illegal migrants in order to encourage voluntary departure from the UK and discourage illegal migration. The Home Office will always investigate information it receives about illegal migrants and take appropriate enforcement action according to the information available and the circumstances of the case. It is not always possible to attribute a return or other enforcement activity to the application of a sanction earlier in the case or to the route through which a particular individual was brought to the attention of the Home Office.”
So has the scheme proved successful in rooting out landlords that knowingly let to illegal migrants?
Between 1st November 2015 and 31st October 2016, when failure to comply with Right to Rent rules was still a civil offence, 75 initial civil penalties were issued to individual landlords.
It appears that the Government’s attempts to deny illegal migrants access to housing in the UK may in fact be more effective at uncovering rogue landlords that provide rental housing to those unlawfully living in the country.