The UK has a habit of changing certain rules in order to fit their own needs, often bringing in new temporary concessions in order to fill roles that are required at specific points in time. You may remember recently this occurred when Heavy Goods Vehicle drivers were given leave to enter the UK to help sort out the fuel shortages.


Well, this appears to be the case again with the new concessions regarding offshore well-boat workers, who are being granted leave to enter for a period of up to 6 months at a time, should they fit the requirements. This blog will detail what the new rules are regarding such workers and what they will be entitled to.


What is a well-boat?


Just to clarify, a well-boat is a fishing vessel (ship) with a well or tank for the storage and transport of live fish. They are essential to supplying fish to the UK, and can employ a large number of workers per boat.


What are the new rules for foreign workers coming to work on well-boats?


Under the new concession, foreign national workers employed by an certain companies approved by the Home Office working within UK territorial seas on a well boat owned or operated by such a company may be considered for a grant of leave to enter for a period of up to 6 months at a time. However, leave to enter will not be granted for a period extending beyond 8 February 2023.


What do applicants require?


A person may only be considered for a grant of leave to enter under this concession if they are 18 years or over on date of entry to the UK and have produced:


    • a valid passport
    • a letter from their employer stating that the worker is employed by an approved well boat company (see below) and will be required to work on a well boat within the UK’s territorial seas
    • an employment contract that shows the person seeking entry is paid an annual salary of £25,600 or over, or the equivalent if salary is not paid annually
    • if they are a visa national and cannot produce a relevant seaman’s book (see below), a transit visa (see entry clearance section below)


What well-boat companies are approved?


The approved well boat companies for the purposes of this concession are listed below:


  • Migdale Transport
  • AquaShip
  • Ocean Farm Services
  • Solvtrans
  • Bakkafrost
  • Intership
  • Mowi
  • Froy Grupen (Froya)/DES
  • Rostein
  • Inverlussa Marine Services


Does time spent on this visa count towards settlement?


No, unfortunately time spent in the UK under this concession will not count towards settlement. Also, a person who is granted leave under this concession may not have recourse to public funds.


Our thoughts


It is always good to have alternative routes for people to come and work in the UK should they want to. The fishing industry is a massively lucrative one, so this concession will likely be very beneficial to the UK’s economy. It would be nice if the route counted towards settlement in some way, as this could attract more skilled workers to come and join the scheme. People should be rewarded for doing important work such as this. For now though, this is a fine route that we hope many people will get in on to experience work in the UK and develop their careers.


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