Recent changes to the Overseas Domestic Worker visa route (also known as Tied Domestic Worker visa) have been made to prevent abuse of migrant domestic workers by their employers who are visiting the UK. The changes have stated that domestic workers will only come to the UK with their employer for a period of up to 6 months per year. This is in order to prevent overseas domestic workers from being exploited and abused whilst they are in the UK or abusing the category to stay in the UK for a longer period.
UK Domestic Workers Dependent on their Employers
On 10 December 2014 the UK’s Migrant Domestic Workers (MDWs), took to the streets of Westminster, calling for the UK Government to reinstate the original Domestic Worker visa route which was abolished in 2012. The rules prior to 2012 included a longer period of stay for migrant domestic workers in the UK, being allowed to change their employer (under certain circumstances) and being eligible for indefinite leave to remain after a lengthy period.
Under the new rules of the Overseas Domestic Workers visa route they do not have the right to change employers once they arrive in the UK. Independent crossbench peer Baroness Cox has supported the call for the reinstatement pre-2012 Overseas Domestic Worker visa route:
“They are currently bonded by immigration laws to their employer. In most cases the employer’s name is written on the worker’s visa. The worker is totally dependent on their employer for their employment, accommodation and employment status.”
The modern slavery bill, which is deemed to protect the rights of domestic workers is currently being prepared by the Home Office as it has just had it final days at the Committee stage this week. The bill is intended to protect domestic workers from abuse and mistreatment from their employers.
Changes to the Overseas Domestic Worker in a Private Household Route
The Overseas Domestic Worker route exists to allow employers resident overseas to be accompanied by their household staff on visits to the UK. Employers who want to bring their overseas domestic worker with them have to meet a number of requirements to show they are genuinely bringing an employee during their stay in the UK. Individuals on this visa can only stay in the UK for 6 months and cannot extend their stay, unless their initial visa was valid for less than 6 months.
The new changes aim to address the issues raised in the modern slavery bill as well as ensuring that the route is not being exploited by employers who may be forcing their Domestic employees to work for them though successive entries into the UK.
Legal Advice & Successful UK Overseas Domestic Worker Visa Applications
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