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On April 2012, the immigration rules for domestic workers in private households changed drastically.

As long as the domestic worker's services are needed, he or she is allowed to remain in employment while travelling with their employer to the UK and this occurs before the rules were amended. In order to guarantee protection from exploitation and abuse, at a certain point in time the domestic worker's right to change employment had been introduced into the Immigration rules. After five years, the Domestic Workers are permitted to remain in the UK.

The domestic workers are divided into two separate categories due to the amended immigration rules in April 2012 and these categories are:

  • Those domestic workers who came into the UK under the immigration rules that were in place before the 6th of April 2012 and;
  • Those domestic workers who came into the UK under the new amended rules.

NOTE: After five years of service, those individuals under the first category still enjoy more substantial provisions such as being allowed an extension of stay or indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

According to the rules posted on April 2012, the domestic worker in a private household is not permitted to enter the UK beyond six months, he or she is also not allowed to switch employers and not permitted to prolong their leave to remain for more than six months.

Additionally, permitted employers (British or EEA Nationals), in concurrence with the new rules limits but allows them to bring their domestic workers to the UK if the domestic workers are travelling to the UK for visits not exceeding six months. Non-EEA nationals are also allowed to bring their domestic workers to the UK as visitors, as parents of a child in school, as visitors for private medical treatment or as prospective entrepreneurs but not as Tier 1 Investors, Tier 2 migrants or entrepreneurs.

The following are the general visa requirements for domestic workers which remains unaffected:

  • The domestic workers must be between the ages of eighteen and sixty-five;
  • Prior to applying for an entry clearance or visa into the UK, the domestic worker must have been employed for not less than a year by the employer's household;
  • The domestic worker is required to travel in the company of the employer, the employer's child or the employer's spouse when entering the UK;
  • The domestic worker must have agreed to the writing terms of employment;
  • In agreement with the national minimal wages legislation, the payment of the domestic worker must be undertaken by the employer.
  • Any other form of additional employment should not be undertaken by the domestic worker.

Entry Clearance As Domestic Worker

This category (Domestic Worker) grants the employer the permission to bring his/her domestic workers with them while they visit the United Kingdom for up to six months. The domestic worker must be a recognised and generally accepted member of staff of the said employer; also he/she must have worked with the employer for a minimum of one year before making the visa application. The rules for domestic workers changed on 6 April 2012.

The individual is expected to take up full-time work with the employer (in his place of residence whilst in the UK).

The individual is required to have a written undertaken that clearly state the terms and conditions of the individual appointment; it should also state that the employer is willing to meet all the requirements of the UK law concerning the national minimum wage for employees.

The applicant is expected to enter the United Kingdom with:

  • His/her employer who is a national of the United Kingdom or a citizen of an European Economic Area (EEA) mainly resided outside the UK, with the intention of spending no more than six months in the United Kingdom.
  • The Wife, husband, civil partner or child of the employer who is also a national of the United Kingdom or a citizen of a European Economic Area (EEA).
  • The Wife, husband, civil partner or child of the employer who is also a national of the United Kingdom or a citizen of an European Economic Area (EEA) with the intention of spending no more than six months in the United Kingdom.
  • An individual who is an overseas employer or any of his dependant, who has been granted a Visitor's Visa for entry into the United Kingdom.

The individual is expected:

  • To be between the age of 18 and 65;
  • To have the intention to vacate the UK simultaneously as the employer or on the elapse of 6 months, whichever comes first;
  • Not to take up employment whilst in the UK unless the job with the employer for which he/she was granted entry (i.e. Domestic Worker).
  • To be financially capable to cater for accommodation needs and daily support for themselves (including any dependant) without seeking for public funds;

The individual will be required to make available the following whist making the application:

  • A signed Undertaking by the employer;
  • A written statement that contains the terms and conditions attached to the job, stating also that the employer is willing to abide by the national minimum wage law of the United Kingdom.

To elaborate clearly, domestic workers in this case can be cleaners, chauffeurs, cooks, nannies, and other individuals who provide personal care for their employer or his/her dependants. The individual is expected to take up work only in the employer's residence whilst in the United Kingdom.

The domestic worker will usually be issued entry into the UK for not more than six months; of which he/she is expected to vacate the United Kingdom on the expiry of his/her permit or when the employer leaves the UK, whichever comes first. The individual is not eligible for an extension on expiry of the granted leave of entry to either the employer or the domestic worker; by the Home Office, UKBA.

The domestic worker is not permitted to change employer or change type of employment whilst he/she is resided in the United Kingdom. He/she is also not permitted to bring dependants along while coming but the dependant may choose to make an application as an individual like the Visitor's Visa category if the wish to come to the UK.

Domestic Worker Visa Extension

This category (the domestic workers in private households) came into existence in the Immigration Rules on the 18th of September 2002, although it previously existed outside the Immigration Rules, due to excessive demands for the route it was introduced in the Immigration Rules. Established domestic workers were permitted to receive leave under the rules to follow their employer to the United Kingdom for at most a period of 12 months at a particular time; they are however eligible to make an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the United Kingdom if they successfully complete five years of legitimate residence in the UK. Domestic Workers were permitted by the rules to be able to switch employer whilst in the United Kingdom as long as they will still be employed as domestic workers and they continue to fulfil the required criteria for the category.

Improvements made to the Immigration Rules on the 6th of April 2012 placed a restriction on admittance into this category to those accepted domestic workers who are to travel along with their employer whose purpose is visitation in the UK. This change in the Immigration Rules resulted to granting leave to the domestic worker for at most six months wherein he/she is not permitted to change employer; applicable to all applications made on or after the 6th of April, 2012. More so, domestic workers who have already been in the UK before this date can make applications for ILR if they have spent five lawful years in the UK and have fulfilled all requirements of the Rules.

ILR Domestic Worker

Individuals who have gone into the United Kingdom in accordance to the requirements of the domestic workers rules and the Immigration Rules in existence before the 6th of April 2012, he/she can make an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK after successfully spending five years of employment under this route.

The Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) might be conferred on the domestic worker in a private household applicant as long as:

  • He/she under this category has successfully spent five years continuously in the UK.
  • He/she has continuously fulfilled the criteria as required in paragraph 159A of the Immigration Rules during the course of residence.
  • He/she is continuously needed for employment as a domestic worker as established by the present employer.
  • He/she is working full time for one employer.
  • He/she can fulfil the knowledge of life in the UK criteria as well as English Language requirement.
  • He/she does not have any pending sentence that is within the definition of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Acts 1974

Dependants Of Domestic Worker

The immigration rules have narrowed the definitions of who a dependant is to a partner or child of the main applicant; in this case a domestic worker. Please informed that children of the main applicant will only be deemed to be dependants only if they are under the age of 18. Children over the age of 18 will still be deemed as dependants if they became over 18 in the UK.

Entry Clearance As Dependants Of Domestic Worker

In order to be eligible for entry clearance as a dependant of a domestic worker, both parties have be aged over 18 as at the day they are due to arrive the UK. This however does not include child dependants. We have established above that child dependants must be under the age of 18 except where they became 18 or over whilst as a dependant in the UK.

In addition, where a child is born to a person on a dependant visa, such a child can also make an in-country application as a dependant.


Applicants can now make an applications to switch in-country to a dependant of a Domestic worker since the rules changed on the 1st of October, 2013. A major exception to switching under this category is where the individual is in the country as a visitor or on a temporary admission or release.

Extension Of Stay - Dependant of a Domestic Worker

If you are currently in the UK under the Dependant of a Domestic worker route, at the expiration of you current leave you would be able to extend your leave; most especially in line with the main applicant.

Indefinite Leave to remain As Dependant Of a Domestic Worker

If you were granted leave to remain in the UK as a Dependant of a domestic worker before the 6th of April 2012, you will be able to apply for settlement if you have resided in the UK for 2 years as a dependant of a Domestic worker and your sponsor (main applicant) has been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK. However for applications after that period, they will need to wait for 5 years under the dependant of a domestic worker route in order to qualify for settlement.

Domestic Worker Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Once an individual has made an application for a Domestic Worker visa in conformity with the rules in existence on the 6th of April 2012, he or she is not eligible to make an extension for stay for more than six months because six months is the maximum period that a domestic worker is permitted to stay in the UK.

For a domestic worker who has been issued entry in compliance with the Immigration rules of present prior to the 6th of April 2012, he or she is permitted to seek for extension of stay which would not be more than 12 months.
If you have been issued entry into the country under the Domestic Worker category in accordance to the Immigration Rules in place on the 6tg of April 2012, and you have successfully completed five years of residence in the country as a Domestic Worker, you are permitted to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
It is a compulsory conditions that any individual who seeks entry as a Domestic Worker must be cleared from his/her country of nationality. For the above stated reason, a switch is not possible for the Domestic Worker category. However, if you were issued a visa in accordance to the Immigration Rules in place prior to the 6th of April 2012, you can make an application to extend your stay in this category.
Yes. On the condition that the visa held was issued in line with the Immigration Rules in existence before the 6th of April 2012. You may change employer from inside the sound try but you are however required to inform the UKVI of this change.
A professional Immigration advisor who is regulated to offer immigration advice and experienced as well will be assigned to handle your case.
We have a larger number of our clients based in foreign countries, this does not stop us from offering our professional advice. We always seek to help you achieve success in your case.
If you application is going to be done in the country you should apply with the FLR (M) form; while application done outside the country will be done online.
The step you will take following a rejected application relies on why your application was rejected. If the rejected application was a PBS application you may make an application for administrative review while if it is family member related applications you might be given appealing rights. However if you are proceeding with the administrative review you must make available new evidence; while appeals can only be on the basis of Human Rights.

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