As a domestic worker, a person is able to come in the UK for a short period with their employer, with a view not to spend more than 6 months in the UK. The immigration rules first introduced this category on the 18th of September 2002, as prior to that, it had only existed as a concession & granted outside of the immigration rules. Now it is fully under the immigration rules enabled by the Immigration Act 1971.
Background to the domestic worker visa
Where the policy existed before the change on the 6th of April 2012, a domestic worker was able to apply for leave to enter for a period of 12 months, change employers in the UK to work as a domestic worker and be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain following a 5 years residency.
Following the changes on the 6th of April 2012 and prior to further changes on the 6th of April 2016, a domestic worker is only permitted to remain in the UK for 6 months and cannot switch employers whilst being in the UK.
Interviews taken by the Home Office for a domestic worker
Whilst the Home Office have not made this a mandatory requirement, an interview may take place to prevent modern slavery. Further to this, the Home Office are checking whether you will meet the published requirements of the immigration rules.
What are the requirements of a domestic worker visa?
A domestic worker must meet the following requirements in order to apply for the visa to enter the UK:
You must be aged 18 years or over at the date of the visa application.
Must demonstrate that you do not intend to live in the UK for extended periods.
Currently employed as a domestic worker outside of the UK.
Evidence of adequate accommodation and financial requirements need to be met.
You must intend to work for your employer whilst being in the UK & must depart the UK with your employer.
Sponsor residence must be outside of the UK.
Extension requirements of a domestic worker visa (those who have applied on or after 6th April 2012)
As a domestic worker, if you have been granted a visa for less than 6 months, you can apply for an extension to stay in the UK for a maximum period of 6 months. When applying to extend your leave to remain, you must demonstrate that you have lived in the UK employed as a domestic worker during the period of residency in the UK and will be paid in line with the UK national minimum wage.
Following the grant of leave to remain as a domestic worker, you must leave the UK prior to the visa is to expire.
Leave granted prior 6th April 2012 as a domestic worker (extension of stay)
Where you have been granted leave to enter or remain prior to the changes, you will be able to extend your leave to remain in the UK as a domestic worker. In evidence you must demonstrate that you have been employed as a domestic worker throughout the period of leave in the UK & will be needed for the period of extension being requested.
You must demonstrate that you have resided as a domestic worker with your employer and intend to do so for the period of extension of leave in the UK. Your employer must ensure that the UK’s minimum wage is being paid to you and that adequate accommodation will be provided during the periods of employment in the UK.
Changes of employment in the UK as a domestic worker visa holder
A migrant who holds a domestic worker visa can change employers if they have held a visa prior 6th April 2012. An application for a change of employer can be applied in the UK and this will count towards continuous residency in the UK.
Where a migrant holds a visa granted post 6th April 2012, they will be permitted to change employers but cannot reside in the UK longer than the 6 months allowed following their entry to the UK.
How to apply for a UK domestic worker visa?
Applications are usually lodged using the Home Office new digital platforms. The date of application is usually taken from the date of lodging and paying for the visa fees online.
The conditions of the visa under the domestic worker visa
You are only permitted to work for your employer during the periods you hold leave to remain as a domestic worker visa. You are not permitted to run your own business or be self-employed in the UK.
Those who have entered the UK since 6th of April 2012 will not be allowed to live in the UK longer than 6 months. Continuous period of residency under the visa is not permitted i.e. not to live in the UK throughout the 12 months period however there are no exclusion clauses on the domestic worker visa for not permitting repeat applications. This means that as a domestic worker visa holder, you can hold a valid visa but spend short periods in the UK with your employer, which is the purpose of this visa.
Indefinite leave to remain as a domestic worker visa
You can apply for indefinite leave to remain if you have been in the UK prior to the changes that was implemented on the 6th of April 2012. Here are the requirements to apply for the settlement visa as a domestic worker:
You have been in the UK for a period of 5 years and held continuous residency as a domestic worker.
Meet the requirements of paragraph 159G of the immigration rules.
Demonstrate that you are required for the role and will be employed by your current employer.
Must meet the English language and knowledge of life requirements.
Must not fall for general grounds of refusal.
As part of the application for indefinite leave to remain as a domestic worker, you must provide all the specified evidences to support the application.
Taking legal advice on a domestic worker visa
If you are an employer or a person holding a domestic worker visa & wish to take advice prior submitting an application, speak to our team on 0207 237 3388 or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.