A crackdown on rogue landlords across the UK harbouring illegal migrants has led to nearly two hundred arrests.
Over 250 separate properties were raided during a blitz on rental accommodation. Of those arrested, the majority were Indian nationals, however workers from Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and Albania were also uncovered. Nearly two hundred illegal migrants were arrested during the process. If those discovered offered to leave the country voluntarily they would be offered support. If they refused to do so they would face deportation.
There were approximately 24 landlords caught during the six-month operation. They were each fined up to £3,000 for every illegal worker found residing in their rental properties.
The operation had been codenamed Operation Magnify, and involved officers raiding 253 properties across the UK between January and June of this year. If the landlords of the rental properties were unable to show proof that they had checked the immigration status of their tenants, they would then face fines under the new ‘Right to Rent’ regulations.
Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis commented on the case: ‘These operations show that we will not tolerate people living and working illegally in the UK. Illegal working cheats the taxpayer, has a negative impact on the wages of lawful workers and allows rogue employers to undercut legitimate businesses.’
He continued, explaining that illegal migrants often find themselves in precarious positions, forced to live in overcrowded and exploitative accommodation.
Mr Lewis added: ‘‘Those unscrupulous landlords flout the rules by knowingly renting property to illegal migrants as an easy source of profit. We are committed to tackling abuse and building an immigration system which works in the best interests of the country.’
Of the 200 people arrested, the majority had overstayed their visas to stay in the UK, but some had also entered the UK illegally.