Domestic Workers in a Private Household: Visa Requirements

This visa allows you to sponsor migrant domestic staff in a private household to the UK under the role of a Domestic Worker. Our Immigration Team has helped numerous clients successfully make Overseas Domestic Worker visa applications. Our team is ready to meet with you in person or via Skype to consider with you whether you meet the eligibility requirements. As soon as you instruct us, we liaise with you in preparing your Overseas Domestic Worker Visa application with the requisite supporting documentation. This article sets out who can apply for a visa under this route, the requirements, extensions and alternative options.

What is the Overseas Domestic Worker Visa?

The Domestic Worker visa, also known as the Domestic Helper visa or the Overseas Domestic Worker visa, is the main immigration route for foreign domestic workers coming to the UK to work in a private household for their overseas employer. This visa scheme is intended for all member of domestic staff, which include: nannies, cleaners, cooks, drivers (chauffeurs), and individuals who provide personal care for the employer and their family.

Once a Domestic Worker visa is granted, an Applicant may remain in the UK for up to 6 months, and holders must return home at the end of this period as there is no option under the current rules to extend. This visa also does not provide a route to Indefinite Leave to Remain (“ILR” i.e. settlement in the UK). However, if you applied for a Domestic Worker visa before 5th April 2012, then different rules apply and you may be able to extend your visa and apply for settlement (discussed below).

Who Can Apply?

You will be eligible to apply for a UK Domestic Worker visa if you work for an overseas employer in a role for a private household, i.e. a nanny, cleaner, cook, housekeeper, chauffeur, gardener, or if you provide private personal care.

Your sponsoring employer must be a British national who normally resides outside the UK and does not intend to remain in the UK for more than 6 months. On the other hand, your employer can be a foreign national who is coming to the UK on a visit and also does not intend to remain for more than 6 months.

Application fees for the Domestic Worker visa UK are currently £531.

What Are The Requirements?

Domestic Worker Visa applicants must meet certain eligibility criteria as defined by the Home Office. Namely, you must:

  • Be 19 or older
  • Have worked for your employer for at least 1 year
  • Be paid at least the UK national minimum wage
  • Have worked in the same household as your employer or one they regularly use
  • Plan to travel to the UK with your employer, their partner or children
  • Intend to work full-time as a domestic worker in a UK household your employer will live in
  • Plan to leave the UK at the end of 6 months
  • Be able to support yourself in the UK without the need for public funds

Can You Extend or Renew a Domestic Worker Visa?

Under the current Domestic Worker visa route, it is not possible to apply for an extension unless you applied for a Domestic Worker visa before 5th April 2012. This means you will be able to:

  • Extend your Domestic Worker visa every 12 months
  • Submit an application for ILR in the UK after 5 years of continuous residence here (you must not have spent more than 180 days outside the UK in any consecutive 12-month period).

To apply for ILR, you will also need to:

  • Meet the English language requirement (i.e. pass an English language test at level CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening, or have a degree that was taught in English). You will not need to meet this requirement if you are from one of the English-speaking countries listed by the Home Office2.
  • Bring your dependant partner and children with you to the UK

Alternative Routes

Lexvisa has substantial experience in this area and advise our clients of all options available to them i.e. through a Skilled Worker Visa or a Student Visa route, subject to a full review of your case. We are qualified in handling various types of applications and can provide alternative routes which may be better suited to your case, leading to a successful outcome for you.

Successful Overseas Domestic Worker Visa Applications

The key ingredient to success is having the right support. Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset.

From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of the merit of your case before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you in proceeding with the preparation and submission of your application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. LEXLAW is just minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal and other central London courts.

Preparation is integral to success. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and develop a timely legal strategy for your Domestic Worker Visa Application.

Authored by Tehreem Fatima, Paralegal

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