This week, Tayyabs Punjabi Restaurant in Whitechapel was raided by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) Enforcement Officers who issued them with an Illegal Working Closure Notice, thus closing the restaurant for up to 48 hours. The Home Office has this power under Schedule 6 of the Immigration Act 2016 (“the 2016 Act”) and is yet another example of the Home Office toughening its stance against illegal working in the UK.
What is an Illegal Working Closure Notice?
An Illegal Working Closure Notice is issued by a Chief Immigration Officer or higher, with the purpose of closing a business premises for up to 48 hours in the circumstances where the employer who is operating that premises is found to be employing a person who has no right to work in the UK. The Illegal Working Closure Notice does not prevent access to the premises by any person who lives there.
Grounds for issuing an Illegal Working Closure Notice
An Illegal Working Closure Notice may be issued if the Chief Immigration Officer is satisfied on reasonable grounds that:
- Illegal working is taking place on the premises; and
- The employer or connected person in relation to the employer:
-has been convicted of an offence under section 21 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006; or
-has, during the period of three years ending with the date on which the closure notice issued, been required to pay a penalty under section 15 of the 2006 Act; or
-has, at any time, been required to pay such a penalty and failed to pay it.
An Illegal Working Closure Notice may not be issued if the employer is able to demonstrate in relation to the employment of each illegal worker, that they have a statutory excuse.
Challenging an Illegal Working Closure Notice
An Illegal Working Closure Notice may be challenged under paragraph 3, schedule 6 of the 2016 Act if:
- the immigration officer considers that the condition in paragraph 1(3) or (6) of the 2016 Act is not met, or
- the employer shows in relation to the employment of each illegal worker that if a penalty notice were given under section 15 of the 2006 Act the employer would be excused under subsection 3 of that section from paying the penalty.
A cancellation notice may be issued only by an Immigration Officer of at least the rank of the Immigration Officer who issued the Illegal Working Closure Notice or where the Illegal Working Closure Notice has been extended by an extension notice, by an Immigration Officer of at least the rank of the Immigration Officer who issued the extension notice.
What is an Illegal Working Compliance Order?
After an Illegal Working Closure Notice has been issued, an Immigration Officer may then make an application to the court for an Illegal Working Compliance Order, which could extend the provisions of that order for up to 12 months.
Obligations Under an Illegal Working Compliance Order
An Illegal Working Compliance Order can require the employer to perform Right to Work Checks and produce Right to Work Check documents, as well as restrict or prohibit access to the premises. In circumstances where an Illegal Working Compliance Order is in place, an individual who then enters that premises will be committing an offence punishable with a fine or up to 51 weeks imprisonment.
Further details regarding an Illegal Working Compliance Order may be found under The Illegal Working Compliance Order Regulations 2016, which came into force on 1 December 2016.
Challenging an Illegal Working Compliance Order
An Illegal Working Compliance Order may be challenged by way of an appeal to the Crown Court and may be made by the person on whom the complience order was served, or any other person who has an interest in the premises against the decision. The appeal may be made in order to:
- make, extend, or vary an Illegal Working Compliance Order;
- not to discharge an Illegal Working Compliance Order; and/or
- order that an Illegal Working Compliance Order continues in force.
An appeal must be made within 21 days from the date of the decision to which it relates was made.
Using Legal Representation to Challenge an Illegal Working Closure Notice or Illegal Working Compliance Order
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to submit challenge an Illegal Working Closure Notice or Illegal Working Compliance Order.
Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.
This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.
Successfully Challenge an Illegal Working Closure Notice or Illegal Working Compliance Order
Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your visa and immigration application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration and visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
Our offices are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.