Bringing your domestic worker to the UK

Someone just wrote me from Africa the other day and they specifically wanted to know if they could bring their “housegirl” to the UK. Now that is what we call Domestic helps in some parts of Africa even though I now hear that there is an improvement now with some “housegirls” being referred to as house keepers, nannys, house helpers etc. Whatever you choose to call them,  they fall under that huge umbrella of Domestic Workers.

Yes, you can bring them to the UK if you are emigrating but remember that the industry is regulated in the UK. Many horror stories abound of people who brought in their domestic workers under same conditions that exist in their home countries and are currently in deep water. Even if you negotiated with them to accept a payment of £100 a month which in your home currency is a lot, things could change when they come here. Note that you have to be emigrating same time as them; you cannot process their visa after you have already relocated.

A lot of conversations happen between nanny’s or domestic helps during that 10 minute wait for your child at the schools play ground. They could also meet people in Church, out and about or engage with old friends who’ve made the same move as them. Once they encounter pay conditions that are better than theirs, the bitterness begins to fester and this could lead to anything. I know of someone who employed a shy retiring domestic help who later granted a TV interview on how her employers were reaping her off. The TV stations as we all know are all over the sensational news. So think!!!!!

This is what to do if you want to bring in a Domestic Worker like cleaners, chauffeurs, cooks, house helps or nannies.

You should apply for the Private Household visa, please follow all links below culled from the UK GOV website to help.

Fees for the visa is £496 and you should make the application for your worker up to 3 months before your planned travel date. The decision for this is 3 weeks but check the guide processing times to find out how long getting this visa might take in your country. This visa will allow your domestic worker up to 6 months with you in the UK initially. There is the option to renew.

Other conditions:

You can:

  • stay in the UK if your employer takes a short trip to another country during the visit
  • travel abroad and return to the UK to complete your stay, though you must prove you still work for your employer, for example a letter from them
  • change employers to another job as a domestic worker in a private household – only if you don’t stay longer than the 6 months

You can’t:

  • change your job for the employer you came to the UK with
  • live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent visits
  • bring in family members (‘dependants’) – they must apply separately
  • get public funds

You must pay the domestic worker at least the national minimum wage.

as ever,



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