A United Nations expert on racism has urged the government to stop forcing landlords to impose hostile immigration rules.
UN special rapporteur on racism E Tendayi Achiume spent two weeks looking at immigration policy in Britain and concluded that laws designed to tackle illegal immigrants were also having an adverse effect on the wider foreign community.
She recommended the government should repeal laws that “deputise immigration enforcement to private citizens and civil servants in a range of arenas.”
Right to Rent – a law that demands landlords check visas – came under special criticism for turning private homes into virtual border checkpoints.
“In a national context that is deeply polarised, it is no surprise that a policy that ostensibly seeks to target only irregular immigrants is destroying the lives and livelihoods of racial and ethnic minority communities more broadly, including many that have been instrumental to the prosperity of this nation for decades, and are rightful claimants of citizenship status,” said Achiume.
Her slating of government immigration policy followed an admission by Home Office Minister Susan Williams revealing civil servants do not monitor Right to Rent and had no idea if the measure was effective or how the rules impact landlords and tenants.
The minister made the remarks in response to a question in the House of Lords from Labour peer John Bassam, who wanted to know how many people had been ‘adversely affected’ by Right to Rent and other immigration policies.
The government has also updated Right to Rent guidance after realising some immigrants may not have documents proving residence through no fault of their own in the wake of the Windrush scandal.
The guidance says if a tenant has lived in the UK permanently since before 1973 and has not been away for long periods in the last 30 years, they have the right to rent property.
If they came to the UK after January 1, 1973, they might not have the automatic right live in the UK, but they may be allowed to stay permanently and have the right to rent property.
Landlords in doubt of a tenant’s Right to Rent status should contact the Home Office on 0300 069 9799