Offshore workers are not seafaring ‘crew’ as defined in the Immigration Act 1971, and are not dealt with in accordance with the provisions for seafaring crew and should not be dealt with in the same way as seamen.Employment on oil installations based in international waters outside the 12-mile limit does not require a work permit. Persons seeking entry to the UK to take up such employment therefore do not require, and are not given, authorisation for such employment, but may be given leave to enter or remain to allow them to go offshore for such employment.
The majority of offshore workers work for a period of less than six months offshore then return to their home country for leave. If bona fide they may be given entry Code 5N. Visa nationals will have ‘Employment Offshore’ or ‘Visit’ category visas.
Offshore workers who wish to base themselves and their dependants for a longer period, while engaged in offshore employment may be given leave outside the Rules, but will now require appropriate Entry Clearance if they wish to stay longer than six months. Such long-term leave is only appropriate if the offshore worker is engaged in work wholly or mainly in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) sector of the North Sea, since the leave is granted to assist work there and not work elsewhere in the world.
United Kingdom immigration legislation does not expand to installations operating completely at sea on the United Kingdom Continental Shelf. Therefore, there is no prevention on overseas nationals taking employment on offshore installations. However, because offshore workers typically work on a Rota basis, spending so many weeks working then an equal number of week’s shore leave, they usually tend to base themselves and any dependants in the UK, so although they do not need a work permit for offshore employment they and any dependants do require leave to enter or remain.
Subject to normal visa requirements, offshore workers are allowed to stay in the United Kingdom during their shore leave especially outside the Rules and their dependants are also exceptionally allowed to base themselves in the UK.
Entry clearance is not compulsory for non-visa nationals except if you are a national of one of 10 non-visa countries and intend to stay in the United Kingdom for more than 6 months. A work permit will only be need if any part of the work is on-shore.
Entry clearance Endorsement
For only offshore employment entry clearance should usually be given for 12 months Code 2.
Offshore workers are not required to register with the police.
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