What is the Youth Mobility Scheme?
The Youth Mobility Scheme (T5) is a visa programme that allows eligible young people to come to the UK to live, work, and travel for up to 24 months.
Under the new immigration system, this is now a points-based visa and applicants must obtain 50 points in order to be granted this visa.
The scheme has replaced the older Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa. There are strict eligibility criteria, including an age requirement. Applicants must be aged between 18-30 years old and this is a one-time-only visa, meaning that it cannot be applied for or used more than once.
There are only eight countries with which the UK has a reciprocal agreement in place, meaning that there is a limited number of visas issued each year.
The eligible countries include: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, San Marino, and Taiwan. Applicants have a number of options in terms of working and studying restrictions.
Who can apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa?
While there are many advantages to the Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) visa, there are strict eligibility requirements in place.
To be granted the visa, you should demonstrate that the following circumstances apply to you:
- You are aged between 18 and 30 years old
- You intend to live and work in the UK for up to 24 months
- You can show that you have a minimum of £2,530 in savings
- You are a citizen of one of the eight countries participating in the scheme
- You do not have a child aged under 18 who is your dependent
Depending on your individual situation, there may be further requirements you must meet.
When preparing your application, you should demonstrate clearly that you meet the eligibility requirements through the submission of required documents.
Some of these documents include:
- Passport or valid travel document
- Bank statements or other official evidence showing that you meet the minimum financial savings
- Clear tuberculosis test (where relevant)
If any documents are in a language other than English or Welsh, you will need to provide certified translations to accompany them.
How to apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa
Compared to some other visas, the YMS visa is a relatively easy application process. In order to apply, you can use the Gov.uk site to apply online.
It is important to prepare all the documents necessary. Ensure that your passport is in date for at least six months from the date you intend to enter the UK.
Ensure that you have official bank statements on headed paper from your financial institution to show that you meet the financial requirement.
Complete your application online and pay the fees when requested. You may have to attend a visa application centre in your country in order to provide your biometric information (fingerprints and facial photograph).
You may also be required to send your passport and wait for it to be returned as part of the application process.
Fees and waiting times
The fees involved in the YMS visa include the application fee (£244) and the immigration healthcare surcharge (£940). There is also a fee involved in providing your biometric information at the visa application centre, however, this is dependent on your location.
There are some optional costs involved. You may be able to pay extra to receive a quicker decision, keep your passport during the application process, or walk-in appointments at the visa application centre.
Unlike other visas, you can submit your YMS visa application up to six months in advance of the date you intend to come to the UK.
Most applicants will receive a decision from the Home Office in under three weeks. However, you may be able to apply for a priority application service to receive a decision in either five or one working day(s). This will cost £500 or £800, depending on which option you choose.
What are the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa conditions of stay?
While there are broad freedoms involved in the YMS, there are restrictions on the type of work you can do. Similarly, your rights are not the same as British nationals.
You have permission to do the following with the YMS visa:
- Study on a course
- Work in most types of jobs
- Work as a self-employed person and set up your own business (you may not hire others, any premises must be rental-only, and any equipment should be valued at not more than £5,000)
You may not do any of the following:
Work as a professional sportsperson (including as a coach), apply for an extension to your stay, access public funds or have family members join you on your application (any family members must apply separately)
Depending on where you are applying from, there is a requirement to demonstrate sponsorship.
If you are from San Marino, you should provide evidence of sponsorship issued by the relevant government body of San Marino and submit your application while resident in San Marino.
If you are from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Monaco, Taiwan, Hong Kong, or the Republic of Korea, your passport must be provided as evidence of sponsorship.
As well as this, the place where you submit your application is not limited to the country of which you are a citizen.
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You must demonstrate that you have met 50 points in order to be eligible for this visa category. Being a citizen of one of the eight eligible countries awards you 50 points. Being between the ages of 18 and 30 when your visa begins give you another 10 points, while demonstrating that you have the required finances gives you the final 10 points.
If one of the following situations applies to your situation, you may be refused this visa:
- You have previously applied for, been granted, and spent time in the UK on the YMS visa
- You have a child aged under 18 who is considered your financial dependent
- You have received a criminal conviction in the last 18 months
- You are at risk for overstaying your visa or posing a risk to the general public
- You have not completed the application correctly
It is important to note that UK visas are issued at the discretion of the Home Office and you must comprehensively demonstrate how you meet the eligibility requirements.
If you have received a positive decision on your application, you will be given 90 days to enter the UK. You will be given a sticker on your passport (known as a vignette) that outlines this information.