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Licensing and the implications of the Immigration Act 2016

The Immigration Act 2016, which is designed to tackle illegal working, comes into force on 6 April.

It makes amendments to the Licensing Act 2003 which those making applications will need to be aware of.

What is changing?

Firstly, the Home Secretary becomes a Responsible Authority and must be served with applications when appropriate. If a particular application – for instance for a new premises licence or a full variation – requires service on all Responsible Authorities, the Secretary of State is added to the list of those entitled to be notified. Failure to serve will invalidate an application.

In addition, the Secretary of State will be entitled to the service of transfers and interim Notices.

Who do the changes apply to?

The amendments apply not only to licences permitting the sale of alcohol but also to those relating to late night refreshment.

The Secretary of State is entitled to object to an application when they consider that the exceptional circumstances of the case are such that granting the application would be prejudicial to the prevention of illegal working in licensed premises.

Licensing Authorities will need to update their Statement of Licensing Policy but Applicants should be aware that a Council’s failure to provide the new address for service will not save an application improperly made and served by post.

The Licensing Authority has responsibility to serve online applications on all Responsible Authorities and they too will now need to include the Secretary of State.

The address for postal applications is The Home Office, Alcohol Licensing Team, Lunar House, 40 Wellesley Road, Croydon CR9 2BY.

What effect will the changes have?

The amendments to the Licensing Act establish that individuals resident in the UK will not be able to apply for a premises licence unless they are entitled to work here. Also, a premises licence will lapse if the holder ceases to be entitled to work.

Individuals resident in the UK who are not entitled to work will not be permitted to apply for a transfer, either. Transfers can be objected to within 14 days by the Secretary of State on the above mentioned ground.

Those not entitled to work in the UK will not be permitted to apply for a personal licence and if a personal licence holder’s employment status changes and they are no longer allowed to lawfully work, then their licence lapses. This has an obvious implication if they are the Designated Premises Supervisor.

The amendments also make a number of offences under the Immigration Act relevant for the purposes of applying for personal licences.

Finally, Illegal Working Closure Orders can be issued by Immigration Officers if they are concerned that breaches of the requirements are being made.

This will prevent access to the premises and prohibit paid or voluntary work taking place therein. Such Orders can last for up to 48 hours. Courts can then make a subsequent Order if they feel appropriate which can apply for up to 12 months.

What does this mean for me?

The consequences of employing illegal workers have been severe for many years but the new provisions create additional restrictions.

As a result, licence holders will need to check current staff and vet potential staff carefully to ensure that they are entitled to work in the UK.

How can Ward Hadaway help?

We have a specialist Immigration Team which provides specialist advice to employers on non-UK workers.

For more information or for advice on any aspect of licensing law, please get in touch.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

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