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Changes to employing private servants or Domestic Workers in diplomatic households | Immigration Matters

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The UK Border Agency has announced important changes, effective 6 April 2012, to the procedure for sponsoring a private servant (e.g. domestic worker) in a diplomatic household under Tier 5 of the points-based system.

These private servants will continue to be able to come to the UK under Tier 5 (Temporary worker – International agreement), and will still need to be sponsored by the diplomatic mission. But the mission will need to add a ‘sponsor note’ to the certificate of sponsorship assigned to a private servant, giving the name of the diplomat for whom the private servant will work.

The private servant will only be able to work for this diplomat. They will not be able to change to work for another diplomat in the mission, and must leave the UK when the diplomat does (or earlier). The private servant will be able to stay for a maximum of 5 years.

The UK Government is also introducing a pre-entry requirement:

the private servant and the diplomat for whom they will work must agree and sign written terms and conditions of employment (covering issues such as hours of work, salary and time off).

This document must be completed before the private servant can be sponsored, and must be included with their visa application. As the sponsor, the mission will agree that the private servant’s written terms and conditions conform to all relevant UK and European legislation, such as the National Minimum Wage Act and the EU working time directive.

These changes do not affect private servants who are exempt from immigration control because they are servants of the head of a diplomatic mission employed and paid directly by the diplomat’s own country. Source: UK Border Agency.

The ‘domestic worker in a private household’ scheme allows overseas employers to bring their domestic workers with them when they visit or move to the UK. To come here as a domestic worker, you must be an established member of your employer’s staff.

Domestic workers may include cleaners, chauffeurs, gardeners, cooks, those providing personal care for the employer or a member of the employer’s family, and nannies if they are providing a personal service relating to the running of the employer’s household.

You will be given a visa to stay in the UK for a fixed period of time. At the end of this period, you must return home or apply to extend your stay.

Thousands of Filipino workers are employed as Domestic Workers, many of whom came to the UK with an employer and were allowed to switch to another employer as part of the Domestic Workers Concession set up under the Blair government.

This week the UK Border Agency also announced that from 29 February, the application form, FLR(BID) – further leave to remain – will no longer be available.

See also:

FLR(BID) form withdrawn from 29 February 2012

Cap on skilled worker permits to remain unchanged Migration Advisory Committee recommends

Three times more Intra-Company migrants coming to UK than skilled worker Tier 2 visas

EU and non-EU workers take more UK jobs as number of Britons in work plunges

UK’s Tier 2 immigration rules could see EU chefs cooking your Indian curry 

Employment restrictions for Bulgarians and Romanians extended until end of 2013

If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: or visit

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