Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Immigration Corner | Can I travel with my boss?

Published:Tuesday | June 14, 2016 | 6:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I am a domestic worker and I was told that it is possible for me to apply for a visa to visit the United Kingdom with my employer. Is this true?

- D.P.

Dear D.P.,

It is possible for persons to apply for a visa to visit the United Kingdom with their employer if they are a domestic worker in a private household; have worked for their employer for at least one year; are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland; meet the other eligibility requirements.

Please be aware that domestic workers include cleaners, chauffeurs, cooks, nannies and those providing personal care for their employers and their family.

Persons can apply for a visa up to three months before the date of travel to the United Kingdom and applicants should get a decision on the visa within three weeks. This will depend on when and in which country the application is made. The cost for the visa application as a domestic worker in a private household is £405.

Persons can use this visa to visit the United Kingdom with their employer for up to six months. However, persons must return home at the end of the six months or when their employer returns home, whichever is sooner.

Persons are able to: stay in the United Kingdom if the employer takes a short trip to another country during the visit; travel abroad and return to the United Kingdom to complete their stay, though they must prove that they still work for their employer. This can be proven by a letter from the employer.

Persons can change employers for another job as a domestic worker in a private household only if they do not stay longer than six months.

It should be noted that persons cannot change their job for the employer they went there with; live there for long periods of time through frequent visits; bring in family members (dependents), as they must apply separately; get public funds.

With respect to eligibility, persons must prove that they are between 18 and 65 years old; have worked for their employer for at least one year; worked in the same household with that employer or one the employer uses regularly; plan to travel to the United Kingdom with the employer, their partner or children; intend to work as a full-time domestic worker in a United Kingdom household that the employer will live in; plan to leave the United Kingdom at the end of six months or at the same time as their employer, whichever is sooner; are able to support themselves without the need for public funds.

The applicant's employer must be either: a British or European Economic Area national who usually lives outside of the United Kingdom and who does not intend to remain in the United Kingdom for more than six months; or a foreign national who is going to the United Kingdom on a visit and who does not intend to remain for more than six months. In addition, the applicant's employer must also pay the employee at least the British national minimum wage. It should also be noted that applicants could lose their visa if the employer breaks any immigration laws while there.

- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email:lawbassie@yahoo.com