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Temporary Worker Visas

Under the new immigration system, there are six primary categories of Temporary Worker Visa, including Charity Worker, Creative and Sporting, Government Authorised Exchange, International Agreement, Religious Worker, and Seasonal Worker. This guide outlines everything you need to know about each category.

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Who can apply for a Temporary Worker Visa?

Under the new immigration rules, there has been a restructuring of Temporary Worker Visas (T5) categories. This means that only some categories of workers can now come to the UK in order to undertake paid employment.

The new categories of Temporary Worker visas include the following:

There is also another visa category under the new T5 system, known as the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa.

Under the points-based system, applicants must demonstrate how they meet the eligibility criteria by obtaining a certain number of points. This page outlines each Temporary Worker visa in detail, including eligibility criteria, required documents, fees, waiting times, and how to apply.

In most cases, being resident in the UK while holding a Temporary Worker Visa will not count towards the time needed to be eligible for indefinite leave to remain or settled status.

If you need support with applying for any of these visas, contact our expert immigration lawyers today in Newcastle. Our professional advisers will work with you to maximise your chances of a successful application. We look forward to speaking over the phone at 0191 303 8965 or on the online chat function.

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Who can apply for Temporary Worker Visas?

To meet the requirements of this visa, you should be able to provide evidence of having the minimum financial requirements. For this category, you should have at least £1,270 in your bank account. This should be present in your account for at least 28 consecutive days in the month prior to your application.

You must also have been issued a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).

The documents you need in order to apply include the following:

  • CoS unique reference number
  • Valid passport or travel document with at least one blank page (front and back)
  • Evidence of meeting financial requirements
  • Proof of your relationship with any relevant dependents
  • A clear tuberculosis test (if relevant)
  • Certified translations of any documents not in English or French

For most categories, unless otherwise stated, the visa grants the applicant permission to work in the UK for up to 12 months or the time period outlined in the Certificate of Sponsorship, whichever time is shorter.

What are the Temporary Worker Visas fees and waiting times?

Fees

The fee for all Temporary Worker Visas is £244 per applicant, and this is the same whether applying inside or outside the UK. You will also need to pay the immigration healthcare surcharge and pay to submit your biometric information as part of your application.

Waiting times

In most cases, you will receive a decision within three weeks of your application when applying outside the UK. You may be able to pay for an expedited decision at an additional cost.

How to apply

To apply for any of these visas, go to the online Gov.uk application page and begin your application by choosing the appropriate option.

T5 Charity Worker Visa

You may apply for the Charity Worker Visa if you wish to come to the UK to undertake unpaid, voluntary work for a charity and if you meet other eligibility requirements. This visa has now replaced the former Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa.

You must hold a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from an approved sponsor to submit your application. This sponsor must hold a valid sponsor licence.

The maximum length of this visa is 12 months. If you wish, you may apply to bring your dependent family members with you. You may not undertake paid employment if coming to the UK on this visa, but you may be able to complete some forms of study, or take on a role listed on the occupation shortage list.

T5 Creative and Sporting Visa

A person who fulfils the criteria of the Creative or Sporting Visa requirements may come to the UK for a limited time to live and work.

The visa has been designed for those who have been offered work in the UK as either a sportsperson or a creative worker. This visa category has replaced the older Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting) Visa.

This visa category is for people who fulfil the criteria of being a suitably talented sportsperson, entertainer, creative artist, coach, instructor, actor, musician, etc. The applicant must show how they intend to contribute to the appropriate sporting or creative industry.

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T5 Government Authorised Exchange Visa

The Government Authorised Exchange category has been designed for individuals who wish to come to the UK on an approved overseas government language programme or to undertake some forms of research or fellowship programmes.

There are a number of programmes that fall under this category, and it is necessary for your specific role to be outlined under the immigration rules in order to be eligible.

The maximum length of this visa is two years (24 months). There is an option for a 12- or 24-month stay, depending on the programme that you choose. It is possible to bring dependent family members with you.

Your sponsor must be either an organisation running an approved exchange scheme, an institute of higher education, or a government department/ agency.

T5 International Agreement Worker Visa

This visa is for workers who wish to come to the UK and undertake some of the following paid employment types:

  • Working for a foreign government
  • Working as a private staff member of a diplomatic household
  • Providing contractual services as a supplier or independent professional

This visa category has replaced the previous Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – International Agreement) Visa.

If you are employed under the first two categories listed above, if your visa is granted, you may be eligible to stay for up to two years or the time outlined on your Certificate of Sponsorship, depending on which time is shorter.

If you are coming to the UK to provide a service under contract, you are permitted to stay for six months in any 12-month period. This is the case if your work is covered un the General Agreement on Trade in Services or other services trade agreements.

You may be able to stay for a longer period if your work falls under one of the following agreements: the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement or the temporary agreement between Switzerland and the UK on services mobility.

T5 Religious Worker Visa

The T5 Religious Worker Visa is separate to the T2 Minister of Religion Visa and it has been designed for individuals who wish to undertake religious work in a non-pastoral role or religious order.

This visa has replaced the former Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Religious Worker) Visa. You must be issued with a Certificate of Sponsorship from a valid sponsor (and the organisation must hold a sponsor licence).

If your application is approved, you will be permitted to stay for up to 24 months. You can enter the UK before the start date of your role (only up to 14 days in advance).

You may be eligible to undertake some courses of study, hold a second job related to your profession (usually up to a maximum of 20 hours per week), or work in a position on the shortage occupation list.

T5 Seasonal Worker Visa

This visa category is for temporary, seasonal workers who wish to come to the UK to complete farm work or other agricultural type roles. This new visa has replaced the older Tier 5 Seasonal Worker Visa.

This category is also aimed at people working within the ‘edible horticulture sector,’ which refers to farms that grow protected vegetables, field vegetables, soft fruit, top fruit, vines and bines, and mushrooms.

The seasonal nature of the employment means that applicants may only come to the UK for a maximum of six months in any 12-month period.

You are not permitted to engage in a permanent job, access public funds, or bring dependent family members with you. You may be able to take some approved courses of study.

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Frequently Asked Questions

In many cases, the application fee for each of the above-mentioned visas costs £244, but it is important to check the appropriate category on the Gov.uk website for updates as this fee may change.

In most cases, a person who is a national of a country outside the UK or Ireland, and who meets the eligibility criteria may apply for a Temporary Worker (T5) visa. As well as the individual visa category requirements, it’s important to fulfil the general immigration rule criteria, including submission of all relevant evidence, and having good character with no criminal record or breaches of immigration rules.

This depends on the individual visa category. Some categories do allow this, while others do not. Check the Gov.uk Work Visa page to see the individual requirements of your chosen category for further information.