What is a Tier 5 visa?

A Tier 5 visa is a temporary work visa for people who want to come to the UK for a short time. There are 6 different types, including creative and sporting, charity, religious worker, and youth mobility scheme.

What are the different types?

There are 6 main categories of Tier 5 visa, including:

  1. Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa;
  2. Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative and sporting) visa;
  3. Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa;
  4. Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – International Agreement) visa;
  5. Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Religious Worker) visa; and
  6. Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa.

The main types allow you to do work experience, training, a research fellowship, or an exchange scheme. You must be from outside the EEA and Switzerland to apply and a holder of a Tier 5 visa. can stay in the UK for the period of time which is shorter between i)12 or 24 months (depending on which scheme you apply for) or ii) the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 28 days,. The Tier 5 visa cannot be used in order to take up a permanent job in the UK.

How long will does a Tier 5 application take?

You can apply for a Tier 5 visa 3 months before the position with your sponsor starts, and a decision on the application may take about 3 weeks.

Who can apply?

You can apply if you have a Certificate of Sponsorship from a licensed sponsor, are not from the European Economic Area or Switzerland. Generally, you will also need £945 savings, unless your sponsor is A-rated and will certify your maintenance.

The sponsor can be an organisation running an approved exchange scheme, a higher education institution (if you want to come to the UK for research, or to be a visiting academic or examiner), or a government department.

There are different eligibility requirements for each type of Tier 5 visa:

  1. For the Tier 5 (Charity Worker) visa, you will need a Certificate of Sponsorship and £945 savings.
  2. For the Tier 5 (Creative and Sporting) visa, you will need a Certificate of Sponsorship and £945 savings. You will also either need to be a sportsperson at the highest level, or to be a Creative Worker. You need to make a unique contribution to the UK, for example by being internationally renowned. For Creative Workers, there may also be a minimum salary requirement.
  3. For the Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) visa, you will need a Certificate of Sponsorship, savings of £945, and a position offered by an approved government authorised exchange scheme.
  4. For the Tier 5 (International Agreement) visa, you will need a Certificate of Sponsorship, savings of £945, and your work must be covered by the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) or similar agreement. Alternatively, your position may be for a foreign government or international organisation, or to work as a private servant in a diplomatic household.
  5. For the Tier 5 (Religious Worker) visa, you will need a Certificate of Sponsorship and £945 savings.
  6. For the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa, you must be 18-30 years old and from 1 one of a number of certain countries. See below for more details.

Our immigration lawyers will be able to advise you. If you would like further information on this category please get in touch with Danielle or her team of Immigration Lawyers on 020 7267 4133.
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How long can I stay?

The Tier 5 visas are for short stays. The length of time you can stay is different for each type of Tier 5 visa:

  1. For the Tier 5 (Charity Worker) visa, you can stay for whichever is the shorter of i) your Certificate of Sponsorship plus 28 days or ii) 12 months. You can come to the UK up to 14 days before the position starts.
  2. For the Tier 5 (Creative and sporting) visa, you can stay for whichever is the shorter of i) your Certificate of Sponsorship plus 28 days or ii) 12 months. You can come to the UK up to 14 days before the position starts.
  3. For the Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) visa, you can stay for whichever is the shorter of i) your Certificate of Sponsorship plus 28 days or ii) 12 months or 24 months depending on which scheme you are applying for. You can come to the UK up to 14 days before the position starts.
  4. For the Tier 5 (International Agreement) visa, you can stay for whichever is the shorter of i) your Certificate of Sponsorship plus 28 days or ii) 24 months. However, you can only stay for 6 months in any 12-month period if the contract is under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), EU-Chile Free Trade Agreement, or certain other agreements. You can come to the UK up to 14 days before the position starts.
  5. For the Tier 5 (Religious Worker) visa, you can stay for whichever is the shorter of i) your Certificate of Sponsorship plus 28 days or ii) 24 months. You can come to the UK up to 14 days before the position starts.
  6. For the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa, you will be given a visa of up to 2 years. You can come to the UK at any time during which your visa is valid. See below for more details.

Government Authorised Exchange

There are 4 types of Government Authorised Exchange:

  1. Work experience programmes including volunteering, shadowing, and internships;
  2. Research programmes;
  3. Overseas government language programmes;
  4. Training programmes, usually in the fields of science or medicine, with Her Majesty’s armed forces, or the UK emergency services.

For the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa, you can study, work in the position on your Certificate of Sponsorship, work a second job for up to 20 hours per week, or work a job on the Tier 2 shortage occupation list for up to 20 hours per week. However, you cannot get access to public funds or work a permanent job. Also, for some educational courses, you will need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate.

You can apply for the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa for 12 months (if you’re doing work experience) or 24 months (if you’re doing research, training or an Overseas Government Language Programme).

You can add dependants to your application.

Youth Mobility Scheme

You can apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme if you want to live and work in the UK for 2 years or less, and are aged between 18 and 30.

You must have £1,890 in savings. You will be able to study and work in most jobs but you cannot apply if you have any children who live with you or who are financially dependent on you.

You must also be from one of the following countries or regions:

  1. Australia
  2. Canada
  3. Japan
  4. Monaco
  5. New Zealand
  6. Hong Kong
  7. Republic of Korea
  8. Taiwan

If you are from Hong Kong or the Republic of Korea, you will also need to be sponsored.

Unlike the other Tier 5 visas, the earliest you can apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme is 6 months before you travel. You’ll be given a visa to live and work in the UK for up to 24 months.

If you would like further information on this category please get in touch with Danielle or her team of Immigration Lawyers on 020 7267 4133.

How will Brexit affect Tier 5 applications?

There are currently about 2.3 million EU nationals working in the UK. Brexit means that EU nationals may need to apply as a Tier 2 skilled worker after we have left the European Union. However, only about 30,000 businesses in the UK have a licence to sponsor Tier 2 applications. A whole new system may be brought in, with possible repercussions for Tier 5 visas.

We have much more information about Brexit here.

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