Premises licences – immigration guidance on prevention of illegal working

The Licensing Act 2003 (the 2003 Act) sets out the licensing regime for the sale and supply of alcohol, the provision of entertainment and the provision of late night refreshment in England and Wales. Section 36 and Schedule 4 to the Immigration Act 2016 amend the 2003 Act and introduce immigration safeguards in respect of licensing applications made in England or Wales on or after 6 April 2017. In April 2017 the Home Office published the Guidance for Licensing Authorities to Prevent Illegal Working in Licensed Premises in England and Wales (‘The Guidance’).   

To which premises the new prevention of illegal working law apply

The Guidance apply to premises licences for alcohol and late night refreshment and to personal licences. It does not apply to entertainment only licences. Club premises certificate and temporary event notices (TEN)) are not covered by the Guidance as the Home Office view is that there is little immigration abuse there.  

Right to work checking requirement is not retrospective

The right to work checking requirements are not retrospective. Licensing authorities do not have to check the immigration status of those people who already hold a licence that was issued before 6 April 2017, or who sent their licence application to the licensing authority before this date.

Right to work checking – requirements  

For applications made on or after 6 April 2017, a licensing authority must not issue a premises or personal licence to someone who ordinarily lives in the UK and who is not entitled to work in a licensable activity.

For applications made on or after 6th April 2017, the applicant must provide the following with the application:

  • Their date of birth, their nationality and the address where they are ordinarily resident.
  • Evidence of their entitlement to work in the UK (the application form includes a list of documents that should be provided, e.g. UK national should provide a copy of their passport, immigration permit holders should provide copy of their passport and immigration permit).

Right to work checking – implications  

A licence application made by an individual without the entitlement to work in the UK is invalid and will be rejected by the licensing authority.

Where an applicant’s permission to work in the UK is for a limited time, the licensing authority may issue a licence for an indefinite period. However, the licence will become invalid when the immigration permission expires.

If the Home Office cuts short or ends a person’s immigration permit, any licence issued for an application made on or after 6 April 2017 will automatically lapse. Home Office Immigration Enforcement Team will seek to inform the licensing authority of any individual whose immigration permission has been cancelled. This person may apply to transfer the licence to another person who has the right to work. Home Office Immigration Enforcement Team will receive a copy of that transfer application.

The note reflects legal position and is for general information purposes only and does not aim to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. We accept no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Carter Lemon Camerons immigration team. The specialist team at Carter Lemon Camerons Solicitors can assist you with all immigration and business-related matters. Our years of expertise in these areas mean that we can provide tailored solutions for you. For more details, please contact our immigration team at or +44 (0)20 7406 1000.