With effect from 15 October 2015, the Overseas Domestic Worker Employment Contract at Appendix 7 will have various amendments made to the document. If an application has been submitted prior to this date and a decision has not been made, then this will be considered under the rules in force on 14 October 2015.
Firstly the contract now states that the signed original contract must be submitted, as opposed to copies of the contracts which had been accepted previously.
The requirement that it is the Employer's obligation and responsibility to pay for the transportation costs, application fees or any other fees has been updated to specify that any Immigration Health Surcharge payable is the Employer's responsibility. This expense must remain a cost to the Employer and cannot be deducted from the Employee's salary or be paid back in a lump sum. The Employer must pay the costs of transportation and other fees up front and cannot request the Employee to make the initial payment and then be reimbursed. If the payment of costs/fees is not compliant with the above this could result in the refusal of visa applications, the curtailment of visas and a penalty fine.
The contract under Appendix 7 previously required the Employer to agree to provide comprehensive sickness insurance cover for the Employee in the United Kingdom at no cost to the Employee. This will no longer be a requirement for Employees who remain in the UK as either a domestic worker in a private household or a private servant in a diplomatic household for a period exceeding the usual 6 months (provided that they have been granted leave within the UK to do so). Presumably the reason for this is that such Employees would now allowed to obtain NHS medical treatment by payment of the Immigration Health Surcharge if they are in the Uk for more than 6 months. Should the Employer choose to provide such cover, they still must not deduct money from the Employee's salary or wages for the purpose of meeting the cost of it; however it is not a requirement for them to provide the comprehensive sickness insurance beyond the 6 months. It is not clear why the Government felt it necessary to make these amendments given that a Domestic Worker is not normally allowed to come to the UK for more than 6 months. Perhaps it is intended to cover cases where the domestic worker's leave is discretionarily extended.
If you have any queries in respect of the changes, which will be implements on 15 October 2015, please call do not hesitate to contact Gherson and we will of be happy to assist.