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Latitude Law
  • General Immigration

Downton Abbey 2: A New Era for UK Work & Residence Visas?


After a couple of years’ delay due to the pandemic, the release of the second Downton Abbey movie is imminent. But how would the characters fare under the UK’s post-Brexit immigration system?

We’ll start upstairs with lady of the house Cora. A US national, Cora needs a visa to live in the UK with Robert, Earl of Grantham. Robert isn’t a working man, naturally, so we can expect him to rely on cash savings. It’s a whopping £62,500 for a couple meeting the financial requirement that way.

That’s who owns the house, what about who runs it? Downstairs, Carson (Butler) and Mrs Hughes (Housekeeper) have seniority in the household, but could they be sponsored as workers if needed? No! Neither role is considered sufficiently highly skilled for sponsorship in the UK.

How about Anna & Mr Bates as head valet & lady’s maid? Again, neither role can be sponsored, so we’ll need identify appropriate alternatives. Personal assistants can be sponsored for example, but note the minimum salary of £25,600 for experienced workers in this role!

In the kitchen we find Mrs Patmore (cook) & Daisy (kitchen maid) but they face a similar fate to Carson & co with roles not suitable for sponsorship. Mrs Patmore would fare better in a professional kitchen, with chefs eligible for a work visa providing the salary is right.

Let’s pop back upstairs & take a look at Branson. As an Irish national, he would not require an application due to Brexit; Irish citizens don’t need to apply under the UK’s EU settlement scheme as we’re all part of a Common Travel Area. If Branson did need sponsorship, chauffeurs cannot be sponsored but estate managers can, so he has options.

And finally Nanny West. Nannies & au pairs are the subject of some debate in the UK at the moment; sufficiently skilled for sponsorship (assuming a high enough salary), but often based in a private home; watch this space on this one.

So, some people with options & some without. As you might guess, those with the money have the most choice, but these are good example of the types of jobs which aren’t suitable for sponsorship and now cannot be filled by EU workers.