Alcohol licences to be tied to immigration checks in Scotland

Out-Law News | 03 Apr 2018 | 3:09 pm | 1 min. read

Businesses in Scotland may be refused permission to sell alcohol on their premises if the person submitting the application for a licence is not entitled to work in the UK, under new legislation that has been proposed.

Under The draft Immigration (Alcohol Licensing and Late Hours Catering) (Scotland) Regulations 2018, currently before the UK parliament, licensing boards in Scotland would be required to reject applications made for either a premises or personal licence by individuals not entitled to work in the UK.

The legislation, if enacted, would provide for an information sharing system between licensing boards and the Home Office which would enable the Home Office to object to personal licence applications being granted if it is "satisfied that granting the licence would be prejudicial to the prevention of illegal working in licensed premises".

The draft Regulations also provide new powers to immigration officers to enter premises where they have reason to believe alcohol is being sold to determine whether any offence under immigration laws "is being committed in connection with the sale of alcohol".

The draft legislation is similar to licensing laws that came into force on 6 April 2017 in England and Wales.

Licensing law expert Audrey Ferrie of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind, said: "This proposed legislation will impact on premises with alcohol and late hours catering licences. However, it is the already overworked licensing authorities who will bear the brunt of the increased administration. In addition to the usual notifications, authorities will also be required to notify applications to the secretary of state. It is to be hoped that this burden is taken into account when the measures are debated in parliament, as the system is already creaking.”

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