Experience the UK with a temporary visa


Spending time overseas to work, train or study is a milestone achievement in life for many people around the world.

Living and working abroad on a temporary basis can be an enriching experience with the chance to pursue new skills and meet different people without the long-term commitment of emigrating to a new country.

If the UK is on your wish list for a short-term overseas adventure, then the Tier 5 Visa class may be right for you.

Within Tier 5 there are two possible visa routes. The first is as a temporary worker as part of a Government Authorised Exchange Scheme, and the second option is through the Youth Mobility Scheme for people aged 18 to 30.

Although both options come under the umbrella of Tier 5, there are different requirements when it comes to who can apply and for how long visa holders can stay in the country.

To find out if a Tier 5 Visa is the right one for you, and whether you should apply as a temporary worker or via the Youth Mobility Scheme, this article breaks down both options. That way, you can get a clearer picture of how to experience the UK with a temporary visa.

Tier 5 Visa – Temporary Worker

The Temporary Worker section of the Tier 5 Visa is for people outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland that want to come to the UK for short-term work experience, training or research.

Due to the temporary nature of this visa, anyone pursuing this route needs to be part of a Government Authorised Exchange Scheme or be sponsored by an organisation with a Tier 5 sponsored licence. The work, training or research must also be directly related to the work conducted by the sponsor organisation.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the types of work that are eligible for the Tier 5 Temporary Visa.

  • Creative worker or sportsperson – internationally renowned in a creative sector or likely to make a significant contribution to sport at the highest level in the UK.
  • Charity worker – unpaid voluntary work for an authorised organisation.
  • Religious worker – preaching, pastoral work or non-pastoral work.
  • Government Authorised Exchange Scheme – an internship or research programme with an approved organisation.
  • International agreement – for workers such as an overseas government employee.

For all of the above categories, a certificate of sponsorship is a mandatory part of the application process, along with providing evidence of £945 in maintenance funds.

Successful applicants can then stay in the UK for up to 12 to 14 months, depending on the scheme applied for. Visa holders can also work at a second job for up to 20 hours per week and bring family members (partner and children under 18) with them for the duration of their stay.

For those granted a visa as part of the Government Authorised Exchange Scheme for sponsored researchers, there is the option to switch to a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa.

Tier 5 Visa – Youth Mobility Scheme

During the past couple of decades, a working holiday in a foreign country has become a rite of passage for young adults all over the world. For people from the UK, popular countries for an overseas experience are Australia, New Zealand and Canada, all of which offer British passport holders a working holiday visa. But for people from outside of the EEA and Switzerland, the UK is a sought-after destination.

The Youth Mobility Scheme has been set up to cater to people aged 18 to 30 that want to live and work in the UK for up to two years. However, it’s only available for young adults from selected countries, or for those with certain types of British nationality, such as British Overseas Citizenship.

The eligible countries are:

One of the key differences between this visa and the other Tier 5 Visa categories is that a job offer, or employer sponsorship, is not needed for the Youth Mobility Scheme. That means that visa holders can work in most jobs, which opens up more opportunities. It’s even possible to be self-employed and set up a company.

There are a couple of conditions though. Applicants must provide evidence of £1,890 in savings to support themselves and pay a healthcare surcharge. And unlike the Temporary Worker Visa, they cannot bring family members with them.

Getting a Tier 5 Visa

As you can see from the descriptions above, which Tier 5 Visa is most suitable will depend on your age and the reason why you want to spend some time living and working in the UK.

Once you have the visa, the next step is planning how to make the most of your time in the UK, with the option to live in cities, in the countryside, or even at the coast.

For those applying for a Youth Mobility Scheme Visa, you will have more freedom about where to base yourself, with the main hubs of London, Manchester and Birmingham all brimming with job opportunities. However, those cities also come with a higher cost of living, especially in London.

Whichever route you take with the Tier 5 Visa, the underlying sentiment is to offer people from other countries a chance to experience the UK and to find out what British life is all about – without having to apply for a long-term visa.

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Article Created By Hayley Maguire

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