[holding answer 25 March 2008]: In 2007, 60 per cent. of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) quota (16,250) could be filled through applications from outside the European Union, the remainder through applications from Romania or Bulgaria. The maximum stay permitted under SAWS is six months. From 2008, applications to SAWS are accepted only from Romania and Bulgaria. SAWS will be phased out by 2010.
Domestic workers in private households may accompany their employer to the UK. Leave may be granted for a period of 12 months initially, with the possibility to extend and apply for settlement once they have spent a continuous period of five years in the UK in this capacity. The latest published figure is that 12,500 entered in 2006.
There are no plans for a separate route for overseas domestic workers in private households, under the points-based system.
Low skilled schemes will be catered for under tier 3 of the points-based system. However, tier 3 is currently suspended and will remain so as long as labour market restrictions are in place for Romania and Bulgaria.