UK puts onus on banks, companies, landlords to cut immigration

Landlords who knowingly rent property to illegal immigrants in the UK could face prison


A file photo of interior minister Amber Rudd. The British govt said it would also examine whether it needed to tighten student immigration rules. Photo: AFP
A file photo of interior minister Amber Rudd. The British govt said it would also examine whether it needed to tighten student immigration rules. Photo: AFP

Birmingham, England: Britain is to make it harder to employ people from overseas, to supply them with banking services or to rent them property, in an effort to dramatically reduce the level of immigration.

Speaking to the governing Conservative Party’s conference in Birmingham, central England, home secretary Amber Rudd reaffirmed the government’s commitment to reduce net migration to “tens of thousands” as the UK heads for a future outside the European Union. It was a near-record 3,27,000 in the year through March.

To help achieve that goal, landlords who knowingly rent property to illegal immigrants would face prison, Rudd said on Tuesday. Banks will also have to check their clients are allowed to be in the country. She said she’s looking to toughen the conditions that companies have to meet before getting a visa for a foreign worker.

“The test should ensure people coming here are filling gaps in the labour market, not taking jobs British people could do,” Rudd said. “But it’s become a tick-box exercise, allowing some firms to get away with not training local people. So I want us to look again at whether our immigration system provides the right incentives for businesses to invest in British workers.”

Even amid the new measures, reductions in the number of migrants “will not happen overnight,” the home secretary said.

Rudd also pledged more powers for law-enforcement agencies to deal with money laundering in an effort to cut off funds for terrorists.

“Laundering that volume of money seriously undermines the integrity and reputation of our financial markets,” she said. “It includes the very institutions that hard-working taxpayers like you depend on for your pensions and savings.” Bloomberg

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