New measures to tackle illegal working in licensed premises in England and Wales


New measures have come into force to prevent illegal working in premises that sell alcohol or provide late night refreshment in England and Wales.

The new measures introduced by the Immigration Act 2016, will enable authorities to carry out immigration checks as part of the process for applying for a licence.

A premises or personal licence will no longer be issued to anyone who does not have permission to be or work in the UK. Being granted a licence and continuing to hold it will also be reliant on complying with the UK’s immigration laws.

And before a licence is granted, the Home Office will be consulted in the same way as the police. If a business has any immigration offences and civil penalties, these will be considered as part of the licence application, and as a ground for making a formal request to a licensing authority for a licence to be reviewed.

The new measures grant immigration officers the same powers as licensing enforcement officers and the police to enter a premises being used to sell alcohol or late night refreshment, in order to investigate immigration offences. This will enable joint enforcement operations with licensing enforcement officers, and allow immigration officers to enter licensed premises without a warrant where there is intelligence of illegal working taking place.

“Illegal working cheats the taxpayer, has a negative impact on the wages of lawful workers and allows rogue employers to undercut legitimate businesses,” Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill said. “These new measures will allow us to work more effectively with licensing authorities and the police to prevent illegal working in a high risk sector and take the action needed against businesses flouting immigration laws.”

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