Meeting documents

Statutory Licensing Sub-Committee
Tuesday, 11th September, 2018 2.00 pm

Date: Tuesday 11th September 2018 Time: 2.00 p.m. Place: Executive Room, Civic Centre

Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Item/Resolution Status Action
Tudalen Glawr Agenda Gymraeg/Welsh Agenda Coversheet (166K/bytes)

It was noted that no requests had been received for the simultaneous translation service.

Report (26K/bytes)
Appendix (362K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Team Leader - Licensing which outlined an application for the review of a premises licence, in accordance with the Licensing Act 2003, submitted by Home Office Immigration Enforcement, in respect of Ambala Restaurant, Station Road, Waunlwyd, Ebbw Vale.

The Team Leader - Licensing spoke to the report which was to determine an application for the review of a premises licence submitted by Home Office Immigration Enforcement, Alcohol Licensing Team, Lunar House,
40 Wellesley Road, Croydon in respect of Ambala Restaurant, Station Road, Waunlwyd, Ebbw Vale in accordance with the Licensing Act 2003. The Officer advised that the application for the review related to illegal working identified at the Ambala Restaurant, which undermined the licensing objective which related to the prevention of crime and disorder.

The Team Leader - Licensing further outlined the current licence held by Mr Syed Tayef Ali and the additional conditions of the license. The review of the Licence was in accordance with the Licensing Act 2003 and Members were made aware that they must take into account the provisions in the Licensing Act 2003 in particular, the licensing objectives, as follows:-

- The prevention of crime and disorder
- Public safety
- The prevention of public nuisance
- The protection of children from harm

It was continued that the guidance issued by the Home Office under Section 182 of the Act and the Council's Licensing Policy must also be taken into account when considering this application.

In conclusion, the Officer advised that the Sub-Committee must give consideration to the review of the Premise License and in doing so, give regard to the representations made and the evidence heard to agree one of the following options for recommendation:-

- to modify the conditions of the licence, or
- to remove a licensable activity from the scope of the licence; or
- to remove the designated premises supervisor; or
- to suspend the licence for a period not exceeding three months, or
- to revoke the licence; or
- take no action.

At this juncture, the Chair invited the representative from the Home Office Immigration Enforcement Department to outline the reasons for their visit to the Ambala Restaurant.

The Home Office representative, Mr Ryan Moore informed Members of the Sub-Committee that an enforcement visit took place to the Ambala Restaurant on 8th February 2018 at 6.00 p.m. This entry was made pursuant to statutory powers under Section 179 (1) (A) of the Licensing Act 2003 as information had been received of two employees working on the premises without permission to work in the United Kingdom. The Home Office representative advised that two individuals were arrested as over stayers and both persons gave false details when spoken to by Officers. These persons were conveyed to in custody at Newport Police Station and Notice of potential liability was served on the owner's wife and a civil penalty was issued in the sum of 30,000.00 which remains unpaid.

The Home Office representative explained that this incident followed an earlier incident on 17th December 2015 when a warrant was executed and two arrests were made regarding illegal working. On this occasion a Referral Notice was served on the owner of the premises and it was found that of the two persons arrested one person had no right to work in the United Kingdom. A civil penalty of 10,000.00 was issued and paid. The representative felt that this earlier incident proved that Mr Ali was aware of the laws and checks to be undertaken to ensure that the relevant documentation was in place to work in the United Kingdom.

The Home Office representative further advised that by allowing individuals to work illegally breaks immigration law. This law was in place to ensure that the relevant checks are in place to ensure people are not at risk, placed in a vulnerable position or subject to exploitation. Also, illegal working had a negative impact on legitimate businesses.

At this juncture the Chair invited the Licence Holder, Mr Syed Tayef Ali to address Members of the
Sub-Committee. Mr Ali outlined the incident which occurred in 2016 and advised that he had employed two individuals. Unfortunately one individual did not have the required work permits and following the investigation it was confirmed he had been working illegally. Mr Ali referred to the incident which occurred in February 2018 and advised that early 2018 was bad time for his family from the beginning of the year, his daughter had undergone several operations and a great deal of his time had been spent in and out hospitals with his daughter. He needed additional staff at the Ambala and had made contact with the Job Centre in London to recruit employees to cover in his absence. He confirmed that one individual had presented his passport and provided ID with his date of birth. The second individual had only been in employment for 2-3 days prior to the Home Office Immigration inspection. Mr Ali advised that as the first individual had failed to provide him with the relevant papers and his notice of employment had been given for the weekend of the inspection.

Mr Ali was of the opinion that this individual had provided false identification to him and the Home Office. Mr Ali reiterated that he had not been in work during these months leading to the Home Office inspection as he had been with his daughter.

At this juncture, the Chair invited questions from the Sub-Committee.

A Member asked if Mr Ali was aware that the individuals employed were illegal immigrants. Mr Ali advised that he had contacted the Job Centre for employees and was under the impression that the individuals had the necessary credentials to reside and work in the United Kingdom. He was unaware that these workers were in fact working illegally for him in his business. Mr Ali further added that the Job Centre had now refused to take his calls.

A Home Office Immigration representative explained to Members of the Sub-Committee that employers were responsible for carrying out checks to ascertain if a person had the right to remain and work in the United Kingdom, not the Job Centre.

Another Member asked how many hours the individuals had been employed to work at the Restaurant. It was stated that the first individual had been employed for 40 hours per week ( 250- 260 per week). The second individual had been employed to cover Mr Ali for 3-4 days per week.

No questions were raised by the Home Office Immigration representatives.

In response to a question raised by Mr Ali which related to the first individual's sentence and custody status, the Home Office Immigration representative stated that he was not permitted to comment on individual cases in this forum. The representative suggested that Mr Ali contact the Home Office legal team to discuss these matters.

In response to a final question raised in relation to the relevant checks which should be undertaken by employers, Mr Ali reiterated that two employees had been sent from the Job Centre and he had assumed they were legally entitled to work in the United Kingdom.

The Home Office representative added that Mr Ali would have been aware of the process and documentation needed for employees following the earlier incident in 2015 where the Civil Penalty was imposed and paid in full.

The Chair thanked everyone for their representations and the Licensing Officers, Applicant and Home Office Immigration Representatives withdrew from the meeting at this juncture.

The Sub-Committee discussed the application for a review of the Premise Licence - Ambala Restaurant and a decision was unanimously reached.

Following deliberation the applicants were invited back into the meeting.

The Chair asked the Solicitor to read out the decision of the Licensing Sub-Committee.

After listening carefully to all evidence placed before us today and taking into account all the representations made the Sub Committee are concerned that the actions of the Licence Holder are a serious breach of the crime and disorder licensing objective, and they are concerned that the Licence holder did not conduct the proper checks to see if a prospective employee has the legal right to work in the UK. There was a distinct lack of due diligence checks being made by the licence holder at the premises to fulfil his lawful obligations. The
Sub-Committee are of the opinion that the prevention of crime and disorder objective of the Licensing Act had been breached by the Licence Holder. The Sub-Committee are aware that it was their duty to take steps with a view to the promotion of the licensing objectives and the prevention of illegal working in the interests of the wider Community.

The Solicitor further advised that after listening carefully to all evidence placed before the Sub-Committee and taking into account all the representations made it was agreed that the premises had been used to further crimes of illegal working by persons who have no legal right to remain and work in the UK and in accordance with recommendations made in Paragraph 11.28 of the Guidance Notes to the Licensing Act 2003 dated April 2018 at page 94 we revoke the licence.

The Sub-Committee were concerned that the Licence Holder had failed to meet his obligations under the licence and have not checked relevant documents that demonstrate entitlement to work in the UK.

In conclusion, the Solicitor informed the Premises Licence holder that he had a right of Appeal against the decision of the Sub Committee to the Magistrates Court. Any Appeal must be commenced within twenty-one days of the decision being notified in writing.

After listening carefully to all evidence placed before the Sub-Committee it was therefore

RESOLVED that Option 5 be endorsed, namely that the Premise Licence be revoked.