If you wish to accompany your employer to the UK as a domestic or household worker, you will need to apply for a Domestic Worker visa, not a work permit. This type of visa includes chauffers, gardeners, cooks and nannies, who have been working for their employer for at least one full year. You will most likely be granted a visa for between six and 12 months, depending on the length of stay of your employer. This visa can also be extended.
Who can apply
To meet the requirements you must:
- Be aged 18-65
- Have been employed under the same roof as your employer for one year or more immediately prior to your application, or have been employed in a household that your employer uses on a regular basis for themselves for one year or more immediately prior to your application, and show evidence that there is a connection between you and your employer
- Intend to travel to the UK in the company of your employer, your employer's spouse or your employer's minor child
- Intend to work full-time as a domestic worker in the same dwelling as your employer
- Be able to maintain and accommodate yourself adequately, as certified by your employer, without recourse to public funds
Sometimes things don't work out as planned, and you need to change jobs. Once you gain entry to the UK, you may change jobs as long as you continue to work as a domestic worker in a private household. If you intend to change jobs you must inform the Home Office of the change but you do not need to make a formal application until you need to apply to extend your original visa.
If you come to the UK with your employer on a visit then you are expected to depart with them. If you stay longer, you are not allowed to work unless members of their close family are also visiting and they want you to work for them. You must, however, leave at the end of your permission to stay.
If your employer is living in the UK and takes trips abroad, you do not need to go with them as long as they are still based in the UK and are going to return.
If your employer leaves the United Kingdom permanently, you are expected to leave with them. If you do not, you must make arrangements to leave the UK before your permission to stay ends.
Your rights as an employee
You and your employer should already have agreed the conditions of your employment. You should have your own copy of this document.
Your employer cannot change the conditions of your employment unless you agree. For example, your employer must:
- pay you the agreed rate
- give you agreed holiday pay
- permit you the rights of giving notice you are entitled to
If they do not, you should be able to take legal action through an Employment or Industrial Tribunal or the civil courts.
Even if you do not have a contract of employment, the law gives you rights, including rest breaks, paid holidays, sex and race discrimination and maternity and paternity leave.
You should have your passport in a safe place. If your employer has taken your passport and refuses to release it to you, you should contact your embassy immediately.
Bringing your family
Your husband and wife can come with you to the UK provided:
- you both intend living together during your stay and your marriage is subsisting
- there will be adequate accommodation without recourse to public funds in accommodation which you occupy exclusively
- you can maintain him or her adequately without recourse to public funds
- he or she does not intend to stay in the UK beyond the expiry of your visa
Your child(ren) can come to the UK with you provided:
- he or she is under 18
- he or she is unmarried
- he or she has not formed an independent family unit and is not living an independent life
- he or she can and will be maintained and accommodated adequately without recourse to public funds in
accommodation occupied exclusively by you
- he or she does not intend to stay beyond the expiry of your visa
- both you and your spouse are being issued with entry clearance, except where
- you are the sole surviving parent
- you have sole responsibility for the child's upbringing
- there are exceptional reasons for allowing entry and suitable arrangements have been made for his or her care
You are entitled to free healthcare from the United Kingdom Health Service as you are considered an 'ordinarily resident' in the UK. This means that you have either come to the UK to work or you have been in the UK for more than 12 months. You will need to register with a doctor to receive treatment. You can contact directory enquiries to find out the telephone number of your nearest doctor once you have arrived in the UK.
If you are accompanying your employer on a visit to the UK, you will be expected to leave with them. If your employer is living in the UK, you do not need to go with them on trips abroad as long as they are still based in the UK and are going to return. However, if your employer leaves the UK permanently, you will be expected to leave with them.
If you need to leave the UK, for instance to return to your home country, you will normally be allowed to re-enter the UK. You should take with you proof that you are still employed in the UK as a domestic worker.