London, Asharq Al-Awsat—A new UK immigration bill announced by the government on Monday gives landlords the authority to evict their tenants if they lose their right to stay in the country, the BBC reported.
Under the proposals, landlords must check all tenants’ immigration statuses in advance of agreeing a lease and could face up to five years in prison if they fail to evict illegal immigrants renting their properties. They will also be given the authority to evict illegal immigrants without requiring a court order.
The UK’s Home Office will notify the landlord when an asylum application fails, which confirms the tenant no longer has the right to rent properties in the UK.
The new measures aim to make it more difficult for immigrants to live in the UK after their visas have expired or applications for asylum have been rejected, the government said.
The bill also aims to target landlords who house immigrants in unsafe and overcrowded properties. A blacklist of “rogue landlords” and letting agents who are repeat offenders will also be created as part of the new measures, Communities Secretary Greg Clark said.
The scheme has already been piloted in several British councils since August 2014 and officials said around 36,000 “immigration offenders” have been removed in the last year.
Financial support for failed asylum seekers will also be scrapped under the new bill.
This comes as the British and French governments struggle to deal with a migrant crisis in the French port town of Calais, where large numbers of people are attempting to cross the Channel to get into the UK.
There has been criticism from some circles in the UK that the government has failed to control the situation adequately.
Ministers claim the new measures are part of promises made by the Conservative government prior to being re-elected in the May General Election. They say the bill simply requires landlords to carry out the same checks which employers in the country are bound to.
David Hanson, the opposition Labour Party’s shadow immigration minister, said he supports tougher checks on illegal immigrants in the UK but criticized the government for “offloading” the problem onto landlords in the country.