Landlords in England who do not remove people with no right to remain in Britain, or do not check their immigration status before renting them a property, could be jailed for up to five years.
The move, announced by Communities Secretary Greg Clark, is set to be included in a new Immigration Bill that parliament will debate in the coming months.
Immigration is one of the most sensitive issues in British politics and Prime Minister David Cameron’s centre-right government has been battling to bring the numbers down for years.
Images of migrants trying illegally to cross the Channel Tunnel from France to Britain have fuelled calls from political opponents for ministers to do more and Cameron has warned that the situation could last all summer.
In a joint editorial for this week’s Sunday Telegraph, the French and British interior ministers warned that “our streets are not paved with gold” as Cameron’s government seeks to dispel any perception that migrants have a soft landing in Britain.
Migrants in Calais made around 1,700 attempts overnight yesterday to cross, according to French police sources, a major increase on the past few nights when there were only a few hundred.
Last week, Britain pledged 10 million euros to improve fencing around the Eurotunnel rail terminal in Coquelles, outside Calais, as well as promising more sniffer dog teams.
Cameron’s government has previously announced that the new Immigration Bill will also include giving police the power to seize wages earned by illegal immigrants. — AFP