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Immigration Lawyers | Immigration & Visa Specialists | Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm | info@icslegal.com | 020 7237 3388
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Domestic worker visa | Temporary work visa

This section explains how you can apply to come to the UK as a domestic worker in a private household. At ICS Legal we work with employers to ensure the work permit process is fast and we will ensure the permit is approved. If you are an employer and would like to either extend or bring someone from outside the UK, please contact us on info@icslegal.com, or simply call us on 0207 237 3388.

The rules for domestic workers changed on 6 April 2012. If you had applied on or before 5 April 2012 for a visa to come to the UK as a domestic worker in a private household, different immigration rules apply. The 'domestic worker in a private household' category allows overseas employers to bring their domestic workers with them when they visit the UK for up to 6 months. To come here as a domestic worker, you must be an established member of your employer's staff - you must have worked for your employer for at least a year before you apply for a visa.

Domestic workers include cleaners, chauffeurs, cooks, those providing personal care for the employer or a member of the employer's family, and nannies. You must work in your employer's household in the UK. You will be given permission to stay in the UK for up to 6 months. You must return home at the end of the 6 months or when your employer returns home, whichever is sooner. We will not extend your permission to stay past 6 months or past the time that your employer is in the UK.

You are not allowed to change employer while you are in the UK or change to a different type of employment. You cannot bring your dependants with you but they may apply to come here in their own right, for example as visitors. Speak to ICS Legal on 0207 237 3388 or complete the free visa assessment form by clicking here

You can apply for a visa to visit the UK with your employer if you:

  • are a domestic worker in a private household;

  • have worked for your employer for at least one year;

  • are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland;

  • meet the other eligibility requirements.

Domestic workers include:

  • cleaners;

  • chauffeurs;

  • cooks;

  • those providing personal care for the employer and their family nannies.

How long it will take
You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to the UK. You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks. Check the guide processing times to find out how long getting a visa might take in your country.

Fees
It costs £324 for a visa as a domestic worker in a private household.

How long you can stay
You can use this visa to visit the UK with your employer for up to 6 months. You must return home at the end of the 6 months or when your employer returns home, whichever is sooner.

What you can and can’t do
You can:

  • stay in the UK if your employer takes a short trip to another country during the visit;

  • travel abroad and return to the UK to complete your stay, though you must prove you still work for your employer, eg a letter from them.

You can’t:

  • change your employer while you’re in the UK;

  • change your job for your employer;

  • live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent visits;

  • bring in family members (‘dependants’) - they must apply separately;

  • switch to another type of visa from this visa;

  • get public funds.

Domestic workers who applied before 5 April 2012
Different rules apply to you if you’re a domestic worker who applied for entry to the UK on or before 5 April 2012.

You can:

  • extend your stay in the UK every 12 months;

  • apply to settle permanently in the UK after 5 years;

  • bring your partner and children under 18;

  • move to a similar job in the UK.

How long you can stay
You can apply to extend your visa for 12 months at a time. If you’ve worked in the UK as a domestic worker for 5 years you can apply to settle permanently in the UK. You should apply before your current permission to stay expires.

Eligibility
To extend your visa you must:

  • be a domestic worker in a private household;

  • have applied for your domestic worker visa on or before 5 April 2012;

  • apply while you’re still in the UK.

To settle in the UK as a domestic worker you must:

  • have applied for your domestic worker visa on or before 5 April 2012;

  • have been living here legally for at least 5 years;

  • currently have permission to stay here as a domestic worker;

  • have been in the UK as a full-time domestic worker continuously throughout the 5 years (you can’t have been outside the UK for more than 180 days in any 12 consecutive months);

  • have maintained and accommodated yourself and any dependants without the use of public funds throughout the 5 years;

  • have sufficient knowledge of English and life in the UK.

How long it takes
A decision will be made:

  • within 8 weeks for postal applications;

  • usually on the same day if you use the premium service. 

You’ll be contacted if your application is complex and will take longer, eg:

  • if your supporting documents need to be verified;

  • if you need to attend an interview because of your personal circumstances, eg you have a criminal conviction.

Once you’ve applied you can stay in the UK until you’ve been given a decision, as long as you applied before your last visa expired.

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