The government says it’s working on an online digital Right To Rent status checking service for agents and landlords to use, which may no longer involve tenants having to provide physical documentation.
Right To Rent was introduced four years ago and obliges agents or landlords to check the immigration status of tenants; agents and landlords are open to prosecution if they know or have cause to believe the property they are letting is occupied by someone who does not have the right to reside in the UK.
It was deemed illegal by the High Court last year but the Home Office is appealing the judgement, and the scheme continues to be in place until the legal status is resolved.
But now Labour MP Alex Norris, who submitted a written question in the House of Commons for an update on Right To Rent, has been told that major changes may be underway.
Immigration Minister Kevin Foster replied in writing, saying: “When an individual undergoes a right to work or right to rent check, they are not just evidencing their identity, they must also demonstrate their entitlement to work or rent.
“The Home Office is transforming the way migrants demonstrate their immigration status and right to work and rent in the UK. The digital online status checking service for employers conducting right to work checks was launched on 6 April 2018.
“In January 2019, we amended secondary legislation and issued new guidance to employers which sets out how they can use the online service in complying with their responsibilities under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 on the prevention of illegal working.
“The Home Office is planning to launch an online digital right to rent status checking service to support landlords in conducting right to rent checks. The government is also working to develop proposals for a digital identity system that would enable people to prove their identity easily and securely, without the need to provide physical documents, and to meet the demands of the digital age.”
No deadline has been released for when the new digital service may be available.