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McGill & Co is a Scottish immigration law firm specialising in UK immigration, nationality and refugee law.

Offshore Wind Workers Immigration Rules Concession - January 2021 Update

18 January 2021 Grace McGill Blog

In 2017, the Home Secretary introduced a concession to the Immigration Rules to allow the employment of foreign nationals who are joining vessels engaged in the construction and maintenance of offshore wind projects in UK territorial waters. This concession is time-limited and leave to enter under the terms of the concession was previously extended to 31st December 2020 as we covered in our previous blog post in April.

However, as we continue to face the challenges of  Covid 19 in a way which was unimaginable a year ago, this concession has been extended, to assist no doubt in the economic recovery the country faces and most likely in recognition of the Scottish Governments continued commitment to offshore wind farming for the future as seen in the Offshore wind Policy statement published in October 2020.

The updated terms of the concession are set out below :

  1. The Home Office has agreed to grant a concession, outside of the Immigration Rules, to workers essential to the construction and maintenance of wind farms within UK territorial waters.
  2. The concession will allow foreign national workers leave to enter the UK until 1 July 2021 for the purpose of joining a vessel engaged in the construction and maintenance of a wind farm within UK territorial waters.
  3. Leave to enter under the terms of the concession will not be granted beyond 1 July 2021. During this period, firms involved in the construction or maintenance of wind farms within territorial waters should look to regularise the position of their workers. Those who require leave to enter the UK should have the appropriate permission to do so under the Immigration Rules.
  4. In order to qualify for entry under this concession and maintain border security, a person seeking entry for this purpose should produce:
  • a valid passport;
  • a visa issued for this purpose (if needed – see paragraph 5 below) or a seaman’s book compliant with ILO Convention 108 (and issued by a country which has ratified that Convention) or ILO Convention 185 (and issued by a country which has ratified that Convention having previously ratified ILO108); and
  • a letter from their employer stating that the worker is employed in the construction or maintenance of a wind farm project within territorial waters Page 2 of 2 Offshore wind workers concession – January 2021 update
  1. Foreign nationals seeking entry to the UK under the terms of this concession are subject to a visa requirement only if they:
  • are a visa national (see Appendix 2 to Appendix V of the Immigration Rules for a list of visa nationals); and
  • do not hold a seaman’s book compliant with ILO Convention 108 (and issued by a country which has ratified that Convention) or ILO Convention 185 (and issued by a country which has ratified that Convention having previously ratified ILO108)
  1. Applicants who require a visa should apply online for a visitor in transit visa and select the option when prompted, “to start work on a ship or aircraft”.

 For information on application fees, see the ‘UK visa fees tool’ on GOV.UK. The Immigration Health Surcharge is not payable for this type of visa.

SOURCE: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/952587/offshore-wind-farm-workers-immigration-concession-jan-2021.pdf

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