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In a stern warning to those tempted to employ illegal immigrants and to pay them less than the National Minimum Wage, a fast food restaurateur was left facing ruin after being stripped of his alcohol and late-night catering licences.
Following a raid by police and immigration officers, it was found that a man who had entered the UK illegally and had no right to work in this country was employed as a chef in the restaurant’s kitchen. He had been paid less than the minimum required; no proper PAYE records had been kept and it was suspected that deductions from his earnings had not been passed on to HM Revenue and Customs.
The local authority’s licensing sub-committee later found that the restaurateur had knowingly employed the man unlawfully and that revocation of his licence was necessary to prevent crime. However, the licence was subsequently restored by a judge on the basis that he had not been convicted of any offence.
In upholding the council’s appeal against the latter decision, the High Court noted that the restaurateur had exploited a vulnerable person by acting in breach of the criminal law. The issue was whether, in the opinion of the Court, criminal offences had in fact been committed and the absence of a conviction was irrelevant.