Businesses operating on a commission operator basis could be particularly vulnerable if proposed legislation currently before Parliament becomes law, a top licensing expert has warned.

Solicitor Robert Botkai, a partner at Winckworth Sherwood, said the Immigration Bill would give police officers the power to close down premises with a drinks licence or late night hot food licence, if they believe a worker does not have the correct immigration status.

He said: “This Bill should be of concern to all operators of licensed premises. Some sectors of the licensed trade, including petrol forecourts, often work on a commission operator basis where the operator rather than the licence holder and property owner take responsibility for employees. The enactment of the Bill will mean that the premises may face closure and this will therefore hit the licence holder/property owner as well as the commission operator.

“It will be vitally important for all businesses to have a robust checking process whether they are the direct employer or not. Businesses that work on a commission operator basis must ensure that they are able to terminate agreements and establish a due diligence argument to reduce the likelihood of closures and reviews.”