24 Oct 2016, 18 mins ago

In the Queen’s speech of May 2013 the government outlined plans to make landlords’ check the immigration statuses of their tenants to ensure that they have a legal right to reside in the UK. This month the British Property Federation (BPF) expressed concerns that such plans are unworkable. The BPF stated that it was unrealistic to expect landlord’s to be able to check complex documents without adequate legal training.

Anyone who works in the field of immigration and nationality can understand this point of view. Whether someone has a right to reside in the UK can involve investigations into the various statutes governing British Nationality and Immigration Law, the ever-changing Immigration Rules, European Union Treaties, directives and regulations, as well as domestic and European Case Law. It can even involve examining independence acts of former British Colonies. Sometimes a person’s right to reside in the UK is not reflected in a physical document and sometimes a document apparently granting someone a right to reside in the UK may be in inaccurate. For example, someone may hold a prima facie valid Biometric Residence Permit when their leave has been curtailed and they have no permission to remain in the UK.

The planned legislation was touted as way of undermining rogue landlords, and may have been designed to deal with illegal immigration. However, like many of the Home Office’s policies in this area is likely to have an adverse effect on legal migrants and British Citizens.