What is the domestic worker visa?

October 23rd, 2020


The domestic worker visa was first introduced in 2002 for non-EEA Nationals. ‘Domestic worker’ was not concretely defined within the Immigration Rules but was typically used by nannies, au pairs, cleaners, chauffeurs, cooks, personal carers and protection staff. This route was then bought to an end and only those that entered before April 2012 were able to continue extending or apply for settlement, no new applications can be made.


When will the domestic worker route reopen again?

The government has confirmed that the domestic worker route will reopen from 01 January 2021 for EEA Nationals only. The legal framework for this route can be found in Paragraphs 159A-K of Part 5 of the immigration rules. 


What are the requirements for the domestic worker visa?

The core requirements for a domestic worker visa are;

  1. The domestic worker must already have worked for their employer for at least a year before they can apply
  2. The domestic worker must not intend to stay in the UK for more than six months; and
  3. The employer must be;
    1.  A British or (at present) an EEA National who usually lives outside the UK and who does not intend to return to the UK for more than 6 months
    2. A Non-EEA National who is coming to the UK and who does not intend to remain for more than 6 months

If the above criteria are not met, then the application is not likely to succeed. The above are core requirements and if they cannot be met, the application is not likely succeed. If, however the applicant can satisfy the above requirements, there are additional requirements that then need to be met and considered;

  • The applicant as per the rules must be 19 Years old (although Guidance and overview on Gov.uk website states 18)
  • The applicant’s employment as a domestic worker prior to the application under UK immigration rules 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 the above along with other documents covering the same period of employment for the domestic worker applicant to succeed. 

Upon grant of the domestic worker visa, the applicant must intend to work for their employer whilst in the UK and leave the UK after the 6 months or with their employer whichever is sooner. The applicant must:

  • Not intend to live in the UK for an extended period though Frequent or successive visits
  • Not intend to take employment up elsewhere except as a domestic worker in private households
  • Be able to maintain and accommodate themselves without recourse to public funds

The employer will have a duty to ensure that the domestic worker is paid in accordance with the National Minimum Wage Act 1998, and any regulations made under that act.

domestic worker visa can only be extended if the person was initially granted permission to stay for less than 6 months, otherwise they have to leave the UK and make a fresh application. 

It is important to note that this route does not lead to indefinite leave to remain or ILR, unless the applicant is in the UK as per rules pre 2012.  


“This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.”