Immigration Corner | Travelling to the UK as a domestic helper
Dear Mr Bassie,
I need to apply for an ‘Overseas Domestic Worker visa’ to travel with my employer and I would like to know what this entails. Please advise me if you can.
Persons can apply for an‘ Overseas Domestic Worker visa’ to visit the United Kingdom with their employer if they:
• Live outside the United Kingdom;
• Are a domestic worker in a private household;
• Have worked for the employer for at least one year;
• Meet the other eligibility requirements.
Please note that domestic workers include cleaners, chauffeurs, nannies and cooks. Also included are those providing personal care for the employer and their family.
Persons can apply for a visa up to three months before their date of travel to the United Kingdom. Applicants should get a decision on the visa within three weeks when applying from outside the United Kingdom. It costs £516 to apply for an Overseas Domestic Worker visa.
If successful, persons can use this visa to visit the United Kingdom with their employer for up to six months and they must return home at the end of the six months. Please be aware that an Overseas Domestic Worker visa cannot be extended. However, persons may be able to extend a Domestic Worker in a Private Household visa if they had applied on or before April 5, 2012.
If successful, persons can travel abroad and return to the United Kingdom to complete their stay. Those persons can also change employers to another job as a domestic worker in a private household – only if they do not stay longer than the six months.
Persons cannot work except as a domestic worker in a private household. They also cannot live in the United Kingdom for long periods of time through frequent visits or be eligible to receive public funds.
To be eligible for this visa, persons must prove that they:
• Are 19 years or older;
• Have worked for their employer for at least one year;
• Work in the same household as their employer or one they use regularly;
• Plan to travel to the United Kingdom with their employer, their partner or children;
• Intend to work as a full-time domestic worker in a United Kingdom household where their employer will live in;
• Plan to leave the United Kingdom at the end of six months;
• Are able to support themselves in the United Kingdom without the need for public funds.
In addition, the employer must be either a:
• British citizen who usually lives outside the United Kingdom and who does not intend to remain in the United Kingdom for more than six months; or a
• Foreign citizen who is coming to the United Kingdom on a visit and who does not intend to remain for more than six months.
Please note that the employer must also pay the domestic worker at least the national minimum wage.
DOCUMENTS TO BE PROVIDED
When applying, persons will need to provide:
• A current passport or other valid travel identification;
• Proof that they can support themselves during the trip; for example, bank statements or payslips for the last six months;
• A completed ‘Appendix domestic worker statement’ signed by both the applicant and the employer;
• A letter from the employer confirming their job title, how long they have worked for them, and that they are a permanent employee.
The applicants will need to have a blank page in their passport on which to put the visa.
Persons must also provide one of the following documents covering the same period of employment:
• Payslips or bank statements showing payment of salary;
• Confirmation of tax paid;
• Confirmation of health insurance paid;
• Contract of employment;
• Work visa, residence permit or equivalent passport endorsement for the country where they are currently employed by the employer;
• Visas or equivalent passport endorsement, if they have travelled with their employer before.
Persons may need to provide additional documents depending on their circumstances. Applicants will need to provide a certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh.
APPLY FROM OUTSIDE THE UK
Please be aware that persons must apply online for this visa. Those persons will need to have their fingerprints and photograph, known as ‘biometric information’, taken at a visa application centre as part of their application.
It might be useful for potential applicants to find out how to get their visa decision faster. This will depend on what country they are in. Those applicants should check if their visa application centre offers faster decisions and other services.
All the best.
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, global vice-president of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org