Measures in the immigration bill announced in today’s Queen’s speech prompted strong reactions from specialist lawyers, welfare campaigners and business.
Nichola Carter, head of immigration at niche London firm Carter Thomas, described the proposals as ‘extremely worrying’.
Requiring landlords to become responsible for immigration control by checking the status of their tenants ‘risks exposing individuals to unlawful interference of their right to private life’, she said.
Carter warned such proposals might also lead to immigration officials refusing applications from individuals who are in the UK lawfully but whose landlords refuse to provide appropriate documentation.
A spokesman for the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) said that attempts to restrict access to the NHS would ‘significantly increase red tape’ and will not be cost-efficient.
‘To ask landlords to check the immigration status of prospective tenants will lead to discriminatory practices, a return to the days of "no dogs, no blacks, no Irish", but without the signs.’
The council’s chief executive, Habib Rahman, said that this ‘vicious mix’ of proposed measures was designed to ‘appease tabloid editors and exacerbate public anxiety’.
John Cridland, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry said: ‘Firms are less interested in the exact structure of the new system and more in it delivering a fast, efficient and cost-effective service.
‘We must strike the right balance between controlling immigration but still attract the skilled workers and students the economy needs, who otherwise will go to our competitors.’