Although the Immigration Rules do not define “domestic workers”, the route is typically used by nannies, au pairs, cleaners, chauffeurs, cooks, personal carers and protection staff. The government has confirmed that this route will be open to EEA nationals who move to the UK from 1 January 2021. Those moving to the UK before then should apply under the EU Settlement Scheme.

What is the Domestic Worker Visa? 

The domestic worker route has undergone a number of changes over the years, the most significant of which came in 2012. Non-EEA domestic helpers who came to the UK before April 2012 were able to apply for extensions of stay and settlement. That is no longer the case, and the visa is only valid for six months at a time, although those who are still in the UK on the pre-2012 route can continue to make such applications.

Requirements for a Domestic Worker Visa 

There are three core requirements that need to be considered at an early stage:

  • the domestic worker must have already worked for their employer for at least a year before a visa can be applied for;
  • they must not intend to stay in the UK for more than six months; and
  • their employer must be (i) a British or (at present) an EEA national who usually lives outside the UK and who does not intend to return for more than six months, or (ii) a non-EEA national who is coming to the UK to visit and who does not intend to remain for more than six months.

If these three core requirements are not met, an application for a domestic worker visa cannot succeed.

Additional Requirements for a Domestic Worker Visa

If the three core requirements are met, a number of additional requirements must then be considered. These additional requirements are:

  • The Immigration Rules state that applicants must be at least 19 years old, (although the Home Office Caseworker Policy Guidance states 18).
  • The applicant’s employment as a domestic worker for at least a year prior to their application must have been under the same roof as their employer, or in a household that the employer uses on a regular basis.
  • The employer must provide a letter to confirm this, along with one of the specified documents covering the same period of employment.
  • The applicant must intend to work for their employer whilst in the UK and must intend to travel in the company of either: a British or EEA national employer, or that employer’s British or EEA national spouse, civil partner or child, where the employer’s usual place of residence is outside the UK and where the employer does not intend to remain in the UK beyond six months; or a British or EEA national employer’s foreign national spouse, civil partner or child where the employer does not intend to remain in the UK beyond six months; or a foreign national employer or the employer’s spouse, civil partner or child where the employer is seeking or has been granted entry clearance or leave to enter under Part 2 of these Rules.
  • The applicant must intend to leave the UK at the end of the six months, or at the same time as their employer, whichever is earlier;
  • The applicant must not intend to live for an extended period in the UK through frequent or successive visits (we’ll come back to this);
  • The applicant must not intend to take employment except as a domestic worker in a private household;
  • The applicant must be able to maintain and accommodate themselves without recourse to public funds; and
  • The applicant must hold valid entry clearance for entry to the UK as a domestic worker.
  • The general grounds for refusal also apply.

The exact requirements you will need to satisfy will vary depending on your circumstances. You may want to speak to our expert immigration lawyers for legal advice.

What else you need to know about Domestic Worker Visa 

The applicant and their employer must have agreed, in writing, terms and conditions of employment in the UK. These must confirm that the applicant will be paid in accordance with the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 and any regulations made under that act. Evidence must be provided in the form set out in Appendix 7 of the Immigration Rules.

If the Entry Clearance or Immigration Officer is not satisfied that the employer actually intends to comply with the above throughout the worker’s employment in the UK, they have the power to refuse the application.

A written and signed statement from the employer must also be provided confirming that the applicant is an employee and the work that will be carried out by them will not constitute work within the meaning of paragraph 57 of the National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015.

Finally, applicants must not intend to take employment except as a domestic helper in a private household, must not intend to rely on public funds and must obtain entry clearance.

Making a Domestic Worker Visa application with OneLaw Chambers

At OneLaw Chambers, our immigration solicitors and barristers regularly assist with Domestic Worker Visa applications in order for applicants to remain and settle in the UK. We have assisted many foreign national applicants to prepare and submit successful Domestic Worker Visa applications and we have represented clients from all over the world.

Whether you require expert immigration advice on the requirements of the Immigration Rules, an independent immigration assessment of your prospects of qualifying for a Domestic Worker Visa or professional immigration representation with preparing your Domestic Worker Visa immigration application, our immigration solicitors and barristers can help you.

We are committed to ensuring that our immigration solicitors and barristers prepare every immigration visa application with utmost quality and skill so that successful outcome is achieved every time. Our immigration solicitors and barristers operate in a friendly and cooperative manner to provide our clients with the best client care and service during the entire immigration application process. 

To discuss your Domestic Worker Visa application with one our immigration solicitors and barristers, please contact our Immigration lawyers on 0207 489 2044 / 0208 616 1819 or complete our enquiry form with your details.


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