Alan Travis writes in The Guardian:
A system of identity checks for all, including British citizens, would have to be introduced to enforce the government’s moves to curb access for illegal migrants to privately rented housing and to tackle alleged health tourists, leading immigration lawyers have told the home secretary.
The warnings came as Theresa May publishes her flagship immigration bill on Thursday, which will require immigration checks to be carried out before anyone can open a new bank account, be issued with a driving licence or access routine health treatment.
The warning comes from the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association:
The Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (Ilpa) has told May her plan for millions of private landlords to face “proportionate” fines of up to Â£3,000 if they fail to conduct checks on the immigration status of new tenants and other adults living in their properties, is unworkable.
The lawyers say the combination of the new housing and health checks with existing checks carried out by employers and educational colleges, amounts to a system of identity checks for foreign nationals in Britain.
“What this means in practice is a system of identity checks for all, since it is necessary for British citizens or people with permanent residence to prove that they are lawfully present in the UK if and when checked,” says the immigration lawyers’ official response to the Home Office consultation. “British citizens, European economic area nationals and third country nationals alike would be required to produce identity documents at many turns in a scheme that would be intrusive, bullying, ineffective and expensive and likely racist and unlawful to boot,” says the Ilpa response.
There’s also the problem of the number of different types of identity documents that doctors, hospitals and landlords would need to check:
The Residential Landlords Association has told the home secretary that there are no fewer than a potential 404 types of European identity documents that landlords may need to know about to operate the scheme. They also warn that some landlords will simply refuse to house migrants for fear of falling foul of the new rules.