Measures to Introduce Mandatory Right to Work Checks on Taxi and Private Hire Drivers

New powers are being added to the Immigration Bill that mean that taxi and private hire drivers will have to prove they are in the UK legally before being granted licences.

The proposals mean that licensing authorities will need to conduct checks on applicants to ensure that they have the correct permissions in place before granting a licence.  Under the plans, driver and operator licences may not be issued for a period that is longer than the length of a person's permission to live and work in the UK.  Immigration offences and penalties will also provide grounds for a licensing authority to revoke a licence.  It will also be an offence for someone disqualified from continuing to hold a driver or operator licence for immigration reasons not to return their licence to the licensing authority.

Licensing authorities already conduct checks to dertermine whether someone is "fit and proper" to hold a driver or operator licence.  However, they have discretion over the type of checks made and although many conduct immigration checks, these are not yet mandatory.

The bill, which was first published in September, includes a range of new powers to deter people from trying to find work here illegally and to deal more effectively with rogue businesses who offer them employment.  These include:

  • A new offence of illegal working, which will make clear that an illegal worker's earnings can be seized and confiscated.
  • The introduction of powers to close a business if it continues to flout the law.
  • A change in the law on deliberately employing illegal workers to help prosecute rogue businesses.

The amendments regarding taxi and private hire drivers were laid on Thursday 5th November and will now be considered during the bill's progress through Parliament.

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