Proposed additional regulatory requirements for hackney carriage and private hire drivers

The Government has included measures relating to taxi drivers in its Immigration Bill, which is currently being considered by Parliament.

At the moment, licensing authorities such as local authorities carry out checks to ensure that applicants for taxi licenses are ‘fit and proper’.  These checks, and the requirements imposed, vary throughout the country.  The Government wants to impose an additional check to ensure that applicants are in the UK lawfully, and also that they have permission to work.  The Government also wishes to ensure that licenses are not issued for a longer period than the applicant has leave to remain.

This all seems like common sense of course.  However, the obvious consequence for applicants is that licensing authorities will need to pass the cost of these additional checks on to someone, and that will inevitably the applicant.  At the same time, the Home Office has for some time struggled to respond to correspondence relating to individuals’ immigration status; I have little confidence that licensing authorities will have the use of a hotline, and so it seems likely that applications for licenses will be severely delayed.

Existing drivers who are not citizens, and who do not have permanent leave to remain, are also likely to have to reapply for their licenses more often, if Parliament passes this Bill.  Again, they will see an increased cost of running their business, and quite possibly periods in which they cannot work if there is a delay in the Home Office providing the relevant confirmation.

We do not yet know exactly what these proposals will look like when they become law, but it seems that applications and renewals will have to be submitted earlier, more carefully, and more regularly than before.

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