UK Visa and Immigration Right to Rent Rules Discriminate

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Amid plans to force landlords to check the UK visa and immigration status of prospective tenants, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) fears that non-UK nationals face ‘serious discrimination.’ The JCWI has in the past challenged the plans in court, arguing that visa and immigration status checks will result in landlords favouring British passport holders.

Sanwar Ali comment:

We know of many cases of serious injustices due to actions of the Home Office.  An organisation sponsored by the Home Office is currently being sued for racial discrimination.  Instead of doing a proper investigation of allegations of racial discrimination they are trying to prevent the matter being heard at an Employment Tribunal. There have been allegations by minority groups that the Home Office and the Court System is biased against them.  Yet another unjust law makes the situation even worse.

Despite the following remarks on 30 April 2018 by Sajid Javid the first ever ethnic minority Home Secretary, there are allegations of a cover up of racially discriminatory practices at an organisation sponsored by the Home Office:

"Like the Caribbean Windrush generation, my parents came to this country from the Commonwealth in the 1960s. They too came to help rebuild this country and offer all that they had. So when I heard that people who were long-standing pillars of their community were being impacted for simply not having the right documents to prove their legal status in the UK, I thought that it could be my mum, my brother, my uncle or even me.

That’s why I am so personally committed to and invested in resolving the difficulties faced by the people of the Windrush generation who have built their lives here and contributed so much."

Too much of the time the Justice system has less to do with right and wrong and more to do with following some sort of unfair rigid legal system.  Another issue is this. To what extent do Judges actually have any idea who is telling the truth in a Court case anyway?  Judges are human beings and research shows that human beings are not very good at telling whether or not they are being lied to.  Therefore Judgements in Court cases are frequently wrong because  Judges in reality do not know what the truth is.  A misleading and inaccurate Judgement in one Court case may very well lead to more bad decision making so leading to a cycle of injustice, unfairness and perhaps racial discrimination.

What actually happened in reality is frequently very, very different to what you will read in a Judgment for a case.  Therefore more restrictions and penalties will also lead to an increase in Court cases and injustice.

To what extent are Judgements made that everybody knows to be untrue and misleading.  It seems that misleading Judgements are made because of a variety of reasons.  Perhaps the Judge does not like a witness.  Perhaps the Judge wants to make sure that it is difficult to overturn a Judgement in future. Perhaps a particular line of argument that a Judge wants to put forward does not fully align with the facts.  We think that Judgements that everybody knows to be untrue happen a lot.

A number of people could be affected by the "Right to Rent" rules including Tier 2  visa migrants working for employers with a Tier 2 sponsor licence.  More people will have to deal with what can be a hostile and unfair legal system.

The ‘right to rent’ rules, which are part of UK government policies to create a hostile environment for illegal immigrants, have been met with opposition from landlords, politicians and UK visa and immigration lawyers.

Fines or prison sentences for breaches in UK Visa rules

Under the ‘right to rent’ policy, landlords face hefty fines or a potential prison sentence if they provide accommodation for people who have no right to be in Britain. As a result, evidence has emerged that landlords are disregarding tenancy applications made by people with ‘foreign sounding’ names, ethnic minorities and those without a British passport.

Selecting an applicant with a British passport means that landlords avoid having to carry out any additional checks online.

The recent court case came following severe criticism of the ‘right to rent’ rules during the Windrush scandal, which prevented those with full rights to remain in the UK from taking up employment, renting a house or claiming benefits because they couldn’t prove their immigration status.

The legal challenge was referred to the high court, where the JCWI claimed that the policy introduced by UK government ministers contravenes the European Convention on Human Rights. JCWI representatives said: “Forcing landlords to review the immigration status of potential tenants must be reviewed before progressing the policy any further.”

Landlords less likely to rent to non-EU nationals

According to JCWI research, as a result of ‘right to rent’ rules, 51% of landlords stated that they would be less likely to accept tenancy applications from non-EU nationals. Meanwhile, 42% said they would now be less likely to rent to potential tenants without a UK passport. This rose to 48% when landlords were made aware of the criminal penalties in place.

Elsewhere, a survey of 2,800 landlords carried out by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), revealed that 43% were less likely to accept tenancy applications from people without a UK passport, and 46% less likely to rent property to non-EU nationals

Since emerging under the coalition government, the ‘right to rent’ proposals have been shrouded in controversy and greeted with staunch opposition. Former Conservative communities secretary Eric Pickles condemned the plans, arguing that they would ‘force anyone worried about their immigration status into the arms of rogue landlords.’

While UK visa and immigration status checks by landlords have been rolled out across England, no such scheme exists in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Right to rent rules raise huge concerns

Several, high-profile groups have voiced their concerns over the ‘right to rent’ policy, including the RLA, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Shelter, the Chartered Institute of Housing, Crisis, the Immigration Law Practitioners Association, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, and Liberty.

Representing the JCWI during the recent court case, Phillippa Kaufmann QC, said that the group is highlighting how the policy is clearly having a devastating impact on foreign nationals who have every right to be in Britain.

During court proceedings, Kaufmann said: “Landlords are incentivised by the very nature of the scheme to proceed down the path of least resistance. If a potential tenant has a British passport, they know they are at no risk of criminal liability.

“JCWI argues that the government is not in any position to justify this policy because it has not gathered any evidence that its ‘hostile environment’ is having any effect – that is, the desired effect of prompting illegal migrants to leave, rather than going underground to be exploited by rogue landlords.

“The government is unable to prove that it is achieving its goal with its ‘hostile environment’ policies, and they are unable to prove that they have given any consideration to the unintended impact it is having.”

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Home Office stated: “It would be inappropriate to comment on ongoing legal proceedings.”

Further information, help, and advice on UK visa applications has been in the immigration services business for thirty years, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in the UK. We work under Section 84 of the 1999 immigration act and can submit your UK visa application to the Home Office to be dealt with on the same day.

For more information and advice on UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at