Last week, the Government published its Immigration Bill, the aim of which is to make life harder for those living in the UK illegally.
The Bill covers a wide range of issues, some of which will affect those asylum seekers and refugees who have a legal right to be here. The proposed measures around housing, as outlined in the Home Office consultation ‘Tackling immigration in privately rented accommodation’ could lead to denial of housing for those most in need.
The proposal that most concerns us is that which introduces a requirement for private landlords to check the immigration status of potential tenants. It is already difficult for newly-granted refugees to access the private rented sector and this requirement will only serve to make the problem worse by leading to potential discrimination against tenants whose immigration status landlords do not fully understand and therefore may feel will pose a ‘risk.’
In our experience, young people are already subject to extended delays in receiving their official documents confirming their legal status and there are many different documents depending on their specific immigration status and what stage they are at. This documentation is too complex for landlords to understand. The time it takes to follow up on them may put landlords off and, at worst, could encourage harsh treatment due to confusion around whether a young person’s immigration status is legal.
Dost does not support these proposals as we feel that the issues that will potentially be caused by delays and discrimination will not only leave young people homeless, but also add to the risk that they will begin to go underground to find accommodation, placing this vulnerable group even more at risk.