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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Licensing Committee: 20th March 2012

 

Report of the Director of Legal, Public Protection and Housing Services

 

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licensing - Right to Work

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To seek the Committees endorsement to introduce procedures to ensure illegal immigrants are not granted hackney carriage and private hire vehicle driver licences which would allow them to work illegally.

Recommendations

1.             THAT the Council adopts the standards laid down by the UK Border Agency at Appendix A, including any updates that may be subsequently made thereto, to verify the right to work in the UK of applicants for Vale of Glamorgan hackney carriage and private hire vehicle driver licences.

2.             THAT with immediate effect applications for the grant of a Vale of Glamorgan hackney carriage and private hire vehicle driver licence be refused if the applicant fails to provide evidence of their right to work in the UK.  

3.             THAT existing holders of Vale of Glamorgan hackney carriage and private hire vehicle driver licences be required to provide evidence of their right to work in the UK on the first annual renewal of their licences following endorsement of this report and that failure to produce the required documentation results in suspension of the licence which may be lifted upon receipt of the documentation. 

4.             THAT where the Licensing Authority has concerns regarding an individual's right to work and that individual has been working or intends to work in the UK illegally, this information be reported to the UK Border Agency.

Reason for the Recommendations

1.             To ensure robust processes are in place to ensure hackney carriage and private hire vehicle driver licences are not granted to persons who are not legally entitled to work in the UK. 

2.             To ensure new applicants for Vale of Glamorgan hackney carriage and private hire vehicle driver licences are legally entitled to work in the UK prior to being granted a licence.

3.             To ensure robust transitional arrangements are in place to ensure existing Vale of Glamorgan hackney carriage and private hire vehicle drivers are entitled to work in the UK.

4.             To ensure effective information sharing with the UK Border Agency.

Background

2.             At a recent meeting of the Welsh branch of the Institute of Licensing the issue of illegal working was discussed and Licensing Authorities advised to consider their policies in respect of applicants for hackney carriage and private hire vehicle driver licences.

3.             Members will be aware that Vale of Glamorgan hackney carriage and private hire vehicle driver licences may only be granted to persons who the Licensing Authority are satisfied are 'fit and proper' persons.  The matter of illegal immigrants has not previously been an issue considered relevant to the licensing process. 

Relevant Issues and Options

4.             The Government's Department of Transport current Best Practice Guidance in relation to driver licensing states:-

"The department considers it appropriate for licensing authorities to check on an applicant's right to work before granting a taxi or private hire vehicle driver's licence. It is important to note that a Criminal Records Bureau check is not a 'Right to Work' Check'"      

5.             The Home Office, via the UK Border Agency have compiled a list of documents which prove the right to work in the UK.  These are included at Appendix A to this report on pages 20 - 43. 

6.             Currently the necessary documents will fall into either List A or List B.  In summary, one document from List A is required which provides evidence of an ongoing right to work in the UK.  If applicants cannot produce a document from List A relevant document(s) from List B are required which evidence a right to work in the UK for up to 12 months.  All documents produced must be original.  Photocopies, scanned documents and faxes should not be accepted. 

7.             It is proposed that with immediate effect new applicants for Vale of Glamorgan driver licences be required to satisfy the Licensing Authority of their right to work in the UK before being granted a licence and that a licence be refused where the necessary evidence is not provided.  

8.             In respect of existing holders of Vale of Glamorgan hackney carriage and private hire vehicle driver licences it is proposed that with immediate effect they be required to provide evidence of their right to work in the UK on the first annual renewal of their licence and subsequent renewals if required.  It is further proposed that failure to produce the required documentation results in suspension of the licence which may be lifted upon receipt of satisfactory documentation.

9.             If applicants submit documentation from List B, sole responsibility for submitting a renewed document will rest with the Licensee.  Failure to produce a renewed document by the expiry date will result in immediate suspension of the licence. 

10.        It is proposed that where the Licensing Authority has concerns regarding an individual's right to work and that individual has been working or intends to work in the UK illegally this information be reported to the UK Border Agency.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change if Appropriate)

11.        So far as possible licensing costs are recovered through licensing fees and charges.  

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

12.        The law on the prevention of illegal migrant working is set out in sections 15-25 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006.

Crime and Disorder Implications

13.        Sharing information with the UK Border Agency on illegal immigrants will assist in the reduction of numbers of illegal immigrants.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

14.        No presumptions about a person's right to work in the UK will be made on a person's background, appearance or accent.  The right to work in the UK will be assessed solely on the documentary evidence provided.  All applicants and existing drivers will be requested to disclose their right to work. 

Corporate/Service Objectives

15.        To protect the health and safety of the community by ensuring businesses meets legislative requirements, controlling infectious diseases, encouraging responsible dog ownership, controlling pests and regulating animal health and welfare.  To maintain a fair and equitable trading environment.

Policy Framework and Budget

16.        The proposals in this Report are in accordance with the policy on Framework and Budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

17.        A copy of this report has provided to the Secretary of the Vale of Glamorgan Taxi Association for information.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

18.        Housing and Public Protection

Background Papers

The Department of Transport Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing Best Practice Guidance.

Contact Officer

Kate Thompson, Principal Regulatory Services Officer, 01446 709105

Officers Consulted

None

Responsible Officer:

Peter H Evans,

Director of Legal, Public Protection and Housing Services

 

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