As of 6 April this year, Immigration Enforcement Officers now have new immigration enforcement powers, similar to that of the Police and Licensing Enforcement Officers, which gives them the authority to enter licensed premises that are suspected to be in breach of UK Immigration rules. These powers have been introduced under the Immigration Act 2016 (“the 2016 Act”) and seek to cut down on the number of illegal workers in licensed premises in the UK.
New Immigration Enforcement Powers Tackling Illegal Workers in Licensed Premises
It has been reported that approximately 60% of all civil penalties for illegal workers that were issued last year in the UK were in the hospitality, retail and leisure industries. New immigration enforcement powers now enable Immigration Officers to enter a licensed premise without a warrant where there is knowledge of the presence of illegal workers in licensed premises.
Section 16 and Schedule 6 of the 2016 Act amend the Licensing Act 2003, so that the Secretary of State is now added to the list of responsible authorities who are contacted when an applicant declares any previous criminal or immigration offences during their personal license application. In these circumstances, the appropriate licensing authority will then forward the application to the Home Office who will then make a decision as to whether or not object the grant of the licence. Immigration Enforcement Officers can also request a review of existing licenses in light of any immigration offences, which demonstrates the scope of the new immigration enforcement powers.
Moreover, overseas workers who are applying for jobs on a licensed premise are now required to submit documentation proving their right to work in the UK. Individuals will have their Premises Licence or Personal Licence application blocked if they do not have permission to live or work in the UK and it will continue to be the responsibility of the licence-holder to remain compliant with the UK’s immigration laws.
What do These New Immigration Enforcement Powers Mean for Illegal Workers in Licensed Premises and UK Employers?
The new immigration enforcement powers mean that employers will be more likely to comply with UK Visas and Immigration requirements with regards to employing overseas workers who have the right to work in the UK and to avoid being penalised. Speaking on the new rules, former Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill stated that:
“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”.
The Home Office continues to provide guidance and support to employers in the hospitality industry on how to correctly carry out right to work checks and raise awareness of the risks and repercussions of illegal working in the UK. Furthermore, overseas workers are encouraged to legalise their status in the UK to avoid possible removal from the UK.
To ensure you are not an illegal worker in a licensed premise or employing an illegal worker, it is advised that you seek legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration team, in order to avoid any confusion with regards to the UK’s complex immigration rules.
Using Legal Representation to Understand the New Immigration Enforcement Powers
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 ensure you are not an illegal worker or employing an illegal worker.
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.
Successful UK Visa Applications to Avoid Being Penalised by New Immigration Enforcement Powers
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.