Landlords that own purpose built student properties will soon be exempt from conducting ongoing immigration checks on tenants.
This has been announced following a change in the UK’s Immigration Bill which is set to enter into law later in 2014. However, it will not be in force until 2015 and will require landlords to obtain more comprehensive tenant references, while immigration status checks must be carried out frequently.
Although this move should ease the pressure of going through immigration checks regularly, it does place a much larger responsibility upon lettings agents and landlords, who may face fines of up to £3,000 for any illegal tenants.
Potential tenants must have their immigration status verified before moving into a property if they can’t prove they are a British citizen, a national of the European Economic Area, or a Swiss national.
The change in the Immigration Bill has occurred after the British Property Federation (BPF) suggested international students should go through rigorous visa checks before universities are allowed to accept them.
It was also suggested in the amendment that landlords would have to carry out similar checks before confirming tenancy.
Ian Fletcher, director of policy at the BPF, said the organisation is “very satisfied” with the accepted amendments.
“The time and resources that would have been spent by student accommodation providers carrying out these checks would have been completely wasted,” he added.
“If we want to see the UK’s higher education sector competing on the global stage then we need to make sure that we welcome those from other countries who want to study here, not make it more difficult for them.”
Before the immigration and tenancy programme spreads across the UK, it will be tested in a single place to see how simply the process works.
The UK government is set to encourage more international students to attend universities up and down the country, as not only does it improve relations between nations, it also provides a significant boost to the economy.