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Home Office Concessions: Offshore wind workers

British Wind is an expanding market.

The offshore wind market has seen huge growth in recent years. Leaps and bounds have been made in the availability of efficient technology which has resulted in reduced costs and allowed the UK in particular to reduce carbon emissions from energy. In order to meet the UK’s current target of net zero emissions by 2050, the UK will need to see a tenfold increase in production of energy from wind.

The UK is well suited to exploiting wind power with a great source of offshore wind power being available.  The offshore wind power market is predicted to be valued at £30 billion per year by 2030 with the UK expected to be harnessing 1/3 of its electrical power from wind.

Large grants have been awarded to firms in order to build wind farms offshore and to maintain the energy production from these farms.  The Offshore Wind Industry Council, an industry and government body, intend to invest £100 million within ten years to support the increase in infrastructure and commercialisation of these projects.

The Home Office concession

With remarkable foresight, the Home Office introduced a concession in 2017 which would enable foreign nationals working on windfarm projects, in construction or in the maintenance of farms, to be able to come to UK waters more easily.

This concession does not have wide appeal as it is limited solely to non-EEA nationals joining vessels involved in constructing and maintaining offshore wind farms and projects in UK waters. The concession currently will not result in leave being granted beyond 21 April 2020.   Although given the extensive investment in the area, it is likely that the concession will be lengthened beyond this.

How can applicants apply for leave to enter or remain in the UK?

Applicants can apply for leave to enter at the border under this concession if they have a valid passport, a seaman’s book compliant with ILO Convention 108 and issued by country that has ratified that convention, or a Seaman’s book compliant with ILO Convention 185 issued by country that ratified that convention having previously ratified ILO108.   The applicant applying at the border must have with them a letter from their employer stating that the applicant is employed in the construction or maintenance of a wind farm project within UK territorial waters.  It is important that this letter is dated, on headed paper and contains the contact details of the person who wrote the letter and can verify the content.

If an applicant is a ‘visa national’ and they do not have a Seaman’s book compliant as listed above, then they must apply for entry clearance prior to entering the UK. They will not be able to utilise the concession at the border. For applicants to do this, they should apply in a country in which they have a right to reside and apply for a ‘visitor in transit visa’. A list of visa nationals is available at Appendix 2 of Appendix V of the Immigration Rules. 

Where an applicant is coming to work on ship or aircraft in accordance with this concession they are not liable to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Are you planning to come to the UK?

If you are intending on coming to the UK to work on a windfarm for example with EON, NPower or another of the expanding energy firms that have been awarded funds from the government; Westkin Associates can assist you in ensuring that your entry into UK territorial waters is seamless.

Get you application started by calling us at: 020 7118 4546 or alternatively email: info@westkin.com

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