The Immigration Bill 2015 extends provisions introduced by the Immigration Act 2014 and will implement a number of measures which were outlined in the Conservative Party General Election manifesto. CSAN’s main concerns with the Bill are Part 2, Clauses 12-15 (the so called ‘right to rent’ and Part 5, Clause 34 (support for certain categories of migrant). We believe these changes will have a significant impact on the safety and well-being of asylum seekers, many of whom will be exposed to greater risk of exploitation and destitution. The Report stage of the Bill in the House of Commons will take place on the 1 December.
Part 2: Access to Services (‘right to rent’) (Part 2, Clauses 12-15)
The Bill introduces four new offences which targets landlords who “deliberately and repeatedly” let their properties to “individuals who they know or have reasonable cause to believe are disqualified from renting as a result of their immigration status”. The right to rent measure was initially introduced in the Immigration Act 2014, and allows the Secretary of State to impose civil penalties of up to £3,000 on landlords who rent accommodation to “disqualified persons” without making specified checks: those who have entered the UK illegally; those who have overstayed their leave to remain; and those who must reside at (another) specific address as a condition of their leave to remain. CSAN has a number of concerns with the wider roll out of the right to rent measures and the impact they will have on refugees, asylum seekers and migrants.
CSAN is particularly concerned that the wider roll out and extension of the right to rent measures will lead to discrimination against refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. Landlords will be disinclined to let their properties to anyone unable to promptly produce documentation that can satisfy, beyond any doubt, that they have a valid immigration status. Asylum seekers who have had their application refused but are hoping to continue their case are especially at risk of being made homeless by these measures.
Read the rest in CSAN House of Commons Immigration Bill briefing