Deadline extended for servants

The UK Border Agency has extended the deadline for diplomatic servants to apply to remain in the UK with no immigration controls for five years, following concerns raised by diplomatic missions.

Under transitional arrangements, private servants working in diplomatic households on or before 26 November now have a further 18 months to apply for leave to remain in the UK for up to five years with no restrictions.

According to the UK Border Agency, this is to “ensure that all those who were eligible to apply under the transitional arrangements have an opportunity to do so.”

However, new private servants in diplomatic households applying to enter the UK now need to apply under the tier 5 temporary worker – international agreement sub-category of the new points-based system.

The UK Border Agency says diplomatic servants have been included in the new immigration system to meet the Government’s commitment to minimise any risk of abuse or exploitation of domestic servants.

Embassies, high commissions and international organisations now need to submit a signed letter from the Head of the Mission or organisation confirming that they are seeking a place on the Sponsor Register. Once licensed, a mission or international organisation will be able to apply for certificates of sponsorship that can be allocated to a prospective worker.

Private servants may be granted further extensions for periods of up to 12 months at a time, and will now be eligible to apply for settlement.

This will be reflected in the immigration rules at the next formal change in March 2009.