When you take your domestic helper on holiday, securing the right visa for your domestic helper is key. In many South-east Asian countries, your domestic helper is allowed to join you on a short stay tourist. But in many western countries, your domestic helper will need to apply for a special visa. If you want to avoid tourist issues ruining your holiday, contacting the embassy will be the best way, but we have done some of the legwork for you for some popular holiday destinations.
Remember, foreign domestic helpers are not allowed to work while on holiday in a foreign country unless that employment follows local employment laws, including minimum wage, insurance, visa/immigration, etc. In addition, you must get your domestic helper’s consent if you require her to perform domestic duties during the trip (given that the visa she has for the destination allows her to work).
Philippine or Indonesian nationals are required to apply for a Schengen visa. The Schengen area covers 26 countries. If you intend to visit several under the Schengen area and the stays will be of equal length, the domestic helper must apply for a Schengen visa at the Consulate of the country whose external borders you will cross first when entering the Schengen area i.e. your first destination. Note that some countries such as France have additional rules and requirements for issuing Schengen visas.
You can apply for a French visa for your domestic helper via the official visa website for France. The employer has to initiate the application up to three months before you’re set to travel. An application form needs to be filled out and sent to the local labour department and only after receiving a stamped and signed form, can the domestic helper apply for her visa. The process will take around one month, but may be longer in the months prior to the summer holiday so make sure your domestic helper secures a time slot early.
The United Kingdom
Taking your domestic helper to the UK is possible if you apply for a Domestic Workers in a Private Household visa and will cost £516. The application needs to be made up to three months before departure and you should get a decision on the visa within 3 weeks. The application needs to be made online, but as part of the process, the domestic helper needs to go to the visa application centre. Your domestic helper will need to have worked for you for at least a year.
The United States
Applying for a Domestic Employee Visa to the US is tough as immigration can decide to deny the visa if they suspect your domestic worker could attempt to disappear during the trip. Make sure your domestic helper has at least one-year domestic working experience attested to by statements from you or previous employers.
Domestic workers accompanying their employer/family household travelling to Australia for tourism or a business visit should apply for the subclass 600 Visitor (Business Visitor stream) visa. Pay attention that this visa does not allow work in Australia. The Australian process is quite rigid so make sure that you state everything clearly on the form to avoid breaching conditions of stay. Also, be ready to prove that your domestic helper is an integral part of your family and that her help is absolutely necessary during your trip.
Domestic helpers can apply for a tourist visa to China. The employer will need to provide a guarantee letter containing the purpose of domestic helper’s visit, entry and departure dates. You will also need to guarantee that the domestic helper will enter and exit Mainland China together with you. Regulations for the PRC have been changing over the past years, and you may want to check with the PRC embassy or office for the latest regulations. Pay attention that it’s forbidden to ask your domestic helper to work for you in China with this tourist visa.
Flying to Singapore for a long weekend on a whim? Don’t worry, passport holders from the Philippines and Indonesia are allowed to stay for 30 days without needing to apply for a visa.
For your Indonesian domestic helper, there are no worries as she will be free to travel there at any time. Filipino domestic helpers can also join your family, as they will be granted a 30-day “visa-free short visit permit” upon arrival.
Is your destination not on the list? Don’t hesitate to check with the embassy of the destination country to clarify the requirements. We hope this short overview will ease your travel worries. Let the holidays begin!