UK Immigration & Nationality Lawyers

Two consultation papers have been issued in the run up to the autumn’s immigration bill.

The first one, Tackling illegal immigration in privately rented accommodation, seeks views on the government’s proposals to create a new requirement on landlords to conduct immigration checks on tenants and penalties of up to £3000 for those in breach. According to the proposal, the requirements will be modelled on existing controls which apply to employers of migrant workers.

All private landlords will be required to make some “simple checks” on the migration status of new tenants in order to make it more difficult for illegal migrants to live in the UK. The landlord will need to take reasonable steps before the rental arrangement starts, to find out who is going to be living in the accommodation (not just the person who pays the rent or signs the tenancy agreement). Annual checks will be required on those who do not have a settled status, and where the visa runs out in less than 12 months time the landlord has to be satisfied that an extension is in place before the previous leave runs out. Where in doubt, a tip off to the UKBA will exempt the landlord from any further liability.

Closing date for the consultation is 21 August 2013.

The second paper, Migrant access to health services in the UK, is seeking views on whether temporary migrants should be required to pay an upfront migration health levy when they apply for leave to enter or remain in the UK, in order to access NHS services, or take out private health insurance.

According to the proposal, the ordinary residence test applicable now appears overly generous and unfair as it allegedly permits migrants to qualify for free NHS care despite never having contributed  to the costs of the NHS through tax and NI. The main categories of temporary migrants who meet the current ordinary residence test are students, workers and various categories of dependant family members and those seeking settlement as family members.

The consultation is open until 28 August 2013.

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