UK visa and immigration officers hit by stubble ban

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Home Office UK Visas and Immigration staff have been warned that stubble is no longer acceptable in the workplace. The Home Office’s newly published dress code guidance, banned UK Visas and Immigration staff from having an ‘unshaven or stubble appearance’. However, the dress code would allow UK Visas and Immigration staff to have full beards and moustaches.

Tier 2 UK visa

UK Visas and Immigration staff oversee all UK visa applications, such as those for the popular Tier 2 visa, which allows skilled workers to work for a UK employer with a valid Tier 2 Sponsorship License, and eventually gain permanent residence.

According to the Home Office dress code guidance notes, if a UK Visas and Immigration worker wants to grow facial hair, they ‘must do so during a period that limits the amount of time they present an unprofessional image.’ The Home Office stated that the rules only apply to UK Visas and Immigration Enforcement’s Criminal and Financial Investigation (CFI) teams, who have a public-facing role.

UK Visas and Immigration Enforcement Staff

UK Visas and Immigration enforcement personnel are stationed at airports and sea ports across the UK to prevent undocumented migrants from entering Britain.

An official spokesperson for the Home Office stated: “There is no Home Office formal dress code.” However, the Home Office’s dress code guidance notes clearly prohibits UK Visas and Immigration staff from wearing hooded jumpers, denim jeans and miniskirts.This also includes dresses above knee length, flip-flops and low cut tops, all deemed to be revealing. These items of clothing, as well as stubble are inappropriate attire for UK Visas and Immigration enforcement staff.

The Home Office dress code guidance notes features an extensive list of clothing that is considered ‘not smart’, including:

  • T-shirts

  • Frayed or torn clothing

  • Sportswear – defined as replica football and rugby jerseys and Lycra – although leggings are permitted as an accompaniment to dresses or long, smart tops.

  • Baseball caps or hats

  • Underwear worn as outwear

  • Strapless tops

However, the rules don’t apply if UK Visas and Immigration staff are actively involved in a covert operation where formal dress is not always suitable.

The 18-page Home Office dress code guidance document declare that hair ‘should be neat, and styling that does not maintain a professional image is unacceptable.’ Hair colour must also be appropriate to the work environment. This doesn’t allow blatantly conspicuous colours – for example electric blue – which are subsequently prohibited.

Further conditions UK Visas and Immigration Enforcement are required to follow

Regardless of colour, UK Visas and Immigration Enforcement staff are banned from wearing trainers and facial jewelry. Facial jewelry cannot be worn through the eyebrows, lips, nose, tongue, or any other visible part of the body other than the ear lobe. Tattoos are permitted, provided they do not ‘discredit the Home Office or the UK Visas and Immigration department in any way.’

The ban on baseball caps and hats, does not prohibit religious head-wear, for example a turban can be worn by Sikh employees. Headgear related to a disability can also be worn. However, both must adhere to the Home Office health and safety policy and the rules regarding the use of personal protective equipment. can help with Tier 2 Visa Sponsorship Licences and Tier 2 Visas

If you need help with a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence or would like help with complying with your Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence obligations can help. More and more employers are facing sudden unannounced onsite inspections. Contact us for a copy of our free Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence Compliance guide.