Sanctions for landlords and employers in relation to illegal immigrants

27 March 2017

Government plans will be revealed this summer that will impose sanctions on both landlords and employers who knowingly house or employ those who do not have permission to live and work in the UK.

A Migration white paper will be prepared over the next few months by Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, Work and Pensions Secretary, Damian Green and Brexit Secretary, David Davis.

The leading options to be considered will be the introduction of work permits and five-year working visas with restrictions on benefit entitlements.

A Home Office spokesman has commented that leaving the European Union yields opportunities to take control of the UK's immigration system, with one senior minister suggesting it will be landlords and employers who will be burdened with enforcement of the sanctions, according to The Times newspaper.

The white paper will build on sanctions that have been introduced in recent years. Under legislation brought into force this year, tenants must now prove that they have a right to live in the UK. The new plans propose giving five-year jail sentences to landlords who knowingly let to those who do not prove this. The Immigration Act 2016 has already increased the maximum jail term for employers who knowingly give jobs to illegal immigrants from two to five years.

Changes will be brought in gradually and allowances will be made for low-skilled migrant workers who are engaged in seasonal agricultural work. This is in line with a YouGov poll commissioned for The Times newspaper which revealed that opinion towards immigration has softened slightly this year, with 65% of people saying that immigration levels are too high, this being ten points down from opinion poll results in 2015. The poll suggests that people are more concerned with unskilled immigrants as opposed to students and skilled immigrants, whom they are more content to receive into the country.

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.