A six-month crackdown on rogue landlords, named Operation Magnify, led to almost 200 arrests of illegal immigrants at over 250 separate properties and caught 24 landlords who were fined up to £3,000 for every illegal worker found.
Of those arrested, the majority were Indian nationals but there were also workers from Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and Albania.
Those who agreed to leave the country voluntarily after the raid were offered support, while those who refused will face deportation. The majority had overstayed their visas to stay in the UK but some had entered the country illegally.
Of the landlords who were caught with illegal workers at their properties, those who were unable to provide proof they had checked the immigration status of their tenants by asking to see their passport and immigration papers will face fines under the new ‘Right to Rent’ regulations.
As Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis commented, the operation shows that the Government will not tolerate people living and working illegally in the UK, as illegal working cheats the taxpayer, has a negative impact on the wages of lawful workers and allows rogues employers to undercut legitimate businesses.
Mr Lewis added that the “exploitative landlords” forced these people to live in overcrowded accommodation that often lacked even the most basic facilities and flouted the rules by knowingly renting property to illegal migrants
Under the Right to Rent regulations, landlords must check that all tenants and lodgers can legally rent their residential property in England. The checks apply to all tenants aged 18 and over, even if they are not named on the tenancy agreement or even if there is no tenancy agreement.
If the tenant is only allowed to stay in the UK for a limited time, the landlord must complete the check in the 28 days before the start of the tenancy. Landlords should also be aware that it is against the law to only check people they think are not British citizens.