The UK Domestic Worker Visa

The UK Domestic Worker Visa

Many persons are surprised to know that the UK Immigration rules make specific allowance for domestic workers to accompany their employers to the UK.

The UK Domestic Worker Visa

The Domestic Worker Visa is not restricted to the strict definition of ‘domestic worker’ and include; cleaners, chauffeurs, cooks, nannies, and persons providing personal care for the employer and their family.

To qualify the non-EEA applicant must have worked for the employer for at least one year.

To qualify as an ‘employer’ a person needs to be a British or EEA national who usually lives outside the UK and who does not intend to remain in the UK for longer than six months. Alternatively, the employer must be a foreign national who is visiting the UK for no longer than six months.

The domestic worker visa is granted for up to six months. The applicant has to return home after the expiry of the visa, or when the employer returns home, whichever is the sooner.

Some interesting rules of the visa include the following;

  • The employee is allowed to stay in the UK if the employer takes a short trip to another country, provided the UK employer returns to the UK, and the domestic worker still is in the employ of the employer; and
  • The employee is allowed to change employers to another job as a domestic worker provided the total stay is not longer than six months.

The good news for persons coming to the UK on the Domestic Worker Visa is that there are very strict rules regarding employment rights, and nice advantages. This include the following;

  • The worker has to be paid at an agreed rate, which must be at least the UK national minimum wage;
  • The worker cannot be forced to work excessive hours;
  • The worker is entitled to agreed holiday pay;
  • The worker is entitled to notice should the employer give notice to the effect; and
  • Employment conditions may not be altered unless the employee agrees to the changes.

Restrictions of the visa include that the holder of the domestic worker visa is not allowed to live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent visit. There is no recourse to public funds, and dependants are unfortunately not allowed and have to apply for a visa in their own right, should they want to come to the UK. At the end of the six months the domestic worker has to return to his or her home country.

There are very specific and different rules applicable to persons who applied for the Domestic Worker Visa before 12 April 2012. Please speak to your BIC consultant for more information if this applies to you.