The BBC has carried out an undercover investigation and discovered that criminal gangs are providing fake passports and National Insurance cards to illegal immigrants. The Black Market in fake IDs is running rampant and landlords are unwittingly being caught in the middle.
Right to Rent
The government introduced new Right to Rent rules last year. Landlords are now expected to check a tenant’s immigration status before offering them a tenancy. Anyone who can’t prove they have the right to be in the UK won’t be able to rent a property. Or at least that’s the idea.
Unfortunately, undocumented immigrants are paying around £500 to criminal gangs for fake IDs, which are almost impossible to detect. A Home Office spokesperson told reporters that landlords were not expected to be able to spot a fake document. He admitted this was a huge problem.
Dealing in Fake IDs
An undercover BBC reporter had no problem securing fake IDs from dealers all over London. In many cases, the documents arrived within 48 hours of the cash being handed over. He discovered that before the Right to Rent legislation was rolled out, fraudsters were selling between six and 10 fake IDs a week, but now the dealers are extremely busy.
The reported purchases fake documents and took them along to a letting agent, who accepted them without question. The dealers told reporters that the passports were good enough to fool landlords and letting agents, but would not fool an immigration agent at the airport.
Upon close examination, the passports were good quality but did not stand up to closer scrutiny. The lettering was not quite right and photos were the wrong size.