Visa for domestic workers in the UK
Domestic workers in private households
This is the immigration route for those domestic workers in private households overseas who need to come to the UK to work for their employer. A domestic worker must have worked for their employer for at least a year overseas before they are eligible to apply to come to the UK in this category.
Please note there have been fundamental changes to the Immigration Rules for overseas domestic workers. From 6th April, 2012, those in private households coming to the UK will no longer be able to accompany their employer to the UK unless the employer is coming to the UK for less than six months or less. The domestic worker will therefore be limited to a maximum stay of 6 months and cannot switch into another immigration category in the UK, apply for settlement, change employer or bring dependants. Those already in the UK will not be affected by these new provisions.
Requirements for entry clearance
In order to be granted entry clearance as a domestic worker the applicant must comply with the following requirements:-
(i) be aged 18-65 inclusive;
A successful applicant would be given six months’ leave to enter the UK.
What type of workers can apply as domestic workers?
Domestic workers can be nannies, cleaners, cooks, chauffeurs and gardeners. They can also be those providing personal care for the employer or a member of the employer's family.
The employer must provide a signed statement of the main terms and conditions of the domestic worker's employment and give an undetaking that they will pay the National Minimum Wage in the UK. There must be some evidence to show the domestic worker has been employed by the employer coming to the UK in his overseas household for at least twelve months before the date of application. Evidence such as pay slips, employment contracts, photos and even personal statements would help to show the existence of this employment.
The employer must also sign a written undertaking that he will maintain and accommodate the employee adequately and provide them with a separate bedroom. Domestic workers do not have to live under the same roof as the employer as long as the employer can show they will to pay for the separate accommodation or that the domestic worker's wages will be able to cover the extra cost of independent accommodation.
Extension of stay
Only domestic workers who entered the UK with entry clearance granted under the Rules in place before 6th April, 2012, can extend their stay in the UK for longer than six months. Those granted entry claerance under the Rules in place since 6th April, 2012, can extend their stay to a maximum of six months where they were granted less than six months’ on entry.
If a domestic worker has been employed throughout their leave in a private household they are eligible to apply for an extension of stay of twelve months’ leave for those in the Uk with leave in the UK before 6th April, 2012, and up to a maximum of 6 months stay in total for those granted entry clearance under the new Rules. They would need to show they are still required for employment for the period of the further leave and they continue to meet the requirements set out above. Those in the UK with entry clearance/leave to remain granted udner the Rules in pace before 6th April 2012 do not need to be employed by the same employer who they came to the UK with.
Indefinite leave to remain (only for those in the Uk with leave in the UK before 6th April, 2012)
A domestic worker can apply for indefinite leave to remain after five years in the UK if they are still required for the employment as a domestic worker and have met the requirements of the Immigration Rules throughout their time in the UK. They also need to show sufficient knowledge of the English language and sufficient knowledge about life in the United Kingdom (subject to the usual exceptions) and to have no unspent convictions.
People in other immigration categories cannot switch into this category in the UK.
Dependants (only for those in the Uk with leave in the UK before 6th April, 2012)
Dependants are permitted for applicants granted leave in the UK under the Rules in place before 6th April, 2012, and only where the employer is not in the UK as a visitor. A domestic worker is permitted to bring their dependent spouse with them to the UK if they can show the marriage is genuine and subsisting and they they intend to live together in the UK where they will be adequately maintained and accommodated. Domestic workers can also bring their children under eighteen if they are unmarried and not leading an independent life, if they will be adequately maintained and accommodated in the UK.
Rights of appeal
Domestic workers have full rights of appeal against any refusal of entry clearance.
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