Domestic workers of diplomats

Domestic workers in diplomatic households have a special legal status. Although they are de facto legal migrant workers, they are not subject to the provisions of the Residence Act. Instead of a conventional residence permit, they receive a special document (Protokollausweis) issued by the Federal Foreign Office. Rather than the immigration authority, which is responsible for all other migrant workers, domestic workers in diplomatic households are the responsibility of the Federal Foreign Office. Their right to remain in the country is linked to their employment in the household of a specified diplomat. In addition, they are obliged to live under the same roof as their employer, and they are not permitted to change employer, even if they suffer from exploitation or abuse. Domestic workers who leave their jobs automatically lose their residence permits, regardless of whether they have been forced to flee their employer due to violence or abuse. A further distinctive feature is the legal status of their employer. Due to their diplomatic immunity, diplomats are exempt from the legal jurisdiction of the German state.

Diplomatic immunity

According to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 18th April 1961, diplomats enjoy diplomatic immunity in the host country. This immunity also covers the private households of diplomatic representatives. In this way, diplomats are protected from prosecution in cases of suspected abuse of their household staff. As a consequence, these employees are de facto denied access to justice.