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Tier 5 Visa Application

Temporary Worker Tier 5 Visas

If you wish to work in the UK for 12 months or less, our team of London immigration lawyers can help you apply for a Tier 5 Visa.

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What is the Tier 5 Visa?

The Tier 5 Visa is a permit designed for those who wish to travel and work in the UK in a number of specific circumstances, and only for a limited period of time (up to 12 months).

International workers need a job offer from a licensed UK sponsor before they can submit their Tier 5 Visa application.

However, applicants from a small number of countries can come under the Youth Mobility Scheme, provided that they meet specific requirements.

This immigration route is not available for highly-skilled foreign workers, who can instead apply for a Tier 2 Visa.

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What are the Tier 5 Temporary Work Visa categories?

You can apply for one of the following Tier 5 categories to travel to the UK:

  • Charity Workers, for those covering unpaid or voluntary roles for a UK-registered charity.
  • Creative and Sporting, for highly skilled sportspersons, musicians or actors. Sportspersons must be internationally recognised at the highest level in their sport, or they must enter the UK to make a significant contribution to the development of their area of interest.
  • Government Authorised Exchange, available only for nationals of countries who have signed an approved exchange scheme. Under this visa, young foreigners can do work experience, training or academic research in the UK, or take part in an Overseas Government Language Programme.
  • International Agreement, only for workers whose job offer is covered by international law. This includes embassy and diplomatic employers under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) who hold a certificate released by an accredited UK organisation.
  • Religious Workers Visa, for those hired for preaching or work in a monastery or convent by a religious order in the UK.

What are the Temporary Worker Visa requirements?

To be eligible for a Tier 5 Visa, you must have:

  • A valid job offer from a UK-based institution which holds a Certificate of Sponsorship and it’s legally allowed to hire international workers
  • A certificate of sponsorship from your sponsor
  • At least £945 in savings, available on your bank account for 90 days before you apply.

Based on the visa category you are applying for, you may be required to complete an English language test.

You can either prove your knowledge of English by providing a degree taught or researched in English, or an approved language qualification.

Your sponsor may get an on-site visit from the compliance officers at any time, to ensure that migrant workers, as well as the company, are complying with their duties.

Our London immigration lawyers are here to help you should you have any questions about the Tier 5 Work Visa. Please call us now on 020 3883 6530 for more information.

Tier 5 Creative and Sporting categories


A professional sportsperson is someone who provides services in this field either as an athlete or a coach, at a professional or semi-professional level of their sport. Eligible applicants must have represented their national team within the previous two years, or have an established international reputation in their chosen sport.

Creative Workers

Creative workers, such as dancers, actors and models in the fashion industry, can be eligible for a Tier 5 Visa provided that their sponsor can show that the post could not have been filled by a British worker.

Artists will be able to bring their entourage using a group Certificate of Sponsorship, but they should prove the specialist skills of each member.

Government Authorised Exchange & International Agreements

Government Authorised Exchange (GAE)

Applicants under this subcategory can come to the UK to learn new skills through work placements. However, this visa cannot be used to bring unskilled foreign employers to the UK.

With the only exceptions of academic researchers sponsored by an approved institution, individual employers and organisations are not allowed to sponsor any applicant under this category.

International Agreement

This category is only for those who wish to enter the UK to provide a service covered under international law, such as private servants in diplomatic households, employers of overseas governments, and any agreement between the United Kingdom and another country.

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What are the Tier 5 required documents?

To be eligible for a Tier 5 Visa, you must have:

  • A valid job offer from a UK-based institution;
  • A certificate of sponsorship from your sponsor;
  • At least £945 in savings, available on your bank account for 90 days before you apply.

Based on the Tier 5 Visa category you are applying for, you may be required to complete an English language test.

Your sponsor may get an on-site visit from the compliance officers at any time, to ensure that migrant workers, as well as the company, are complying with their duties.

What is a Certificate of Sponsorship?

Your Certificate of Sponsorship is not a certificate nor a paper document. It is a reference number linked to all the information about your job and your personal details.

When you apply for a Tier 5 Visa, your sponsor will give you your sponsorship reference number, which must be reported on your forms.

Your sponsorship reference number will be only valid for 3 months from the date it is assigned to you.

As a general rule, you should be able to use it to leave and return to the UK multiple times over the course of your stay.

Applying for the Youth Mobility Scheme

Young people aged between 18 to 30 from a specific list of countries can experience living and working in the UK for up to 2 years by applying for the Youth Mobility Scheme.

This category of Tier 5 Visa is available only for British overseas citizens and for nationals of the following countries: Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea and Taiwan.

It must be noted that the Scheme is closed to those who have children whom they are financially responsible for, or have already travelled to the UK through any working holiday visa. To be eligible, applicants must have at least £1,809 of available funds.

What is the Genuine Tier 5 Migrant Test?

Before your visa is issued, the UKVI must check if you genuinely intend to undertake the role for which you received a job offer in the UK. The Migrant Test applies to all categories of temporary workers, except those under the seasonal employment scheme.

The UKVI will make its decision taking into account your:

  • Knowledge of the role;
  • Previous relevant experiences:
  • Explanation of how the recruitment process went through.

As a part of your Migrant Test, you may be required to provide additional information and evidence about your working experience. You may also be summoned for an interview.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Tier 5 applicants can include their dependent family members in their application only if they can demonstrate that they hold sufficient funds to provide for them.

Differently, your relative can submit a Family Visas application and travel to the UK if they meet the mandatory requirements.

Your job offer must be valid for the entire period of time indicated on your application. However, if your employment ends before your period of leave, your authorised stay may be reduced to 60 days.

Foreign nationals who first entered the UK as visitors undertaking activities pertinent to their skills can apply to switch their status to a Tier 5 Visa. However, they must first hold a valid Certificate of Sponsorship, released by a UK-based company, interested in hiring a foreign worker.

A Tier 5 Visa allows you to stay in the UK for up to 12 months unless a shorter time is reported on your permit.

At the end of your authorised stay, you can apply for an extension and keep working for the same sponsor for a maximum of 24 months.

Migrants who are coming to the UK as seasonal workers can apply for a Tier 5 under a pilot scheme. This will be run until December 2020. This pilot is currently subject to an annual quota of 2,500.

To be eligible for this permit, any worker must be sponsored by an employer operating in the horticultural sector. They will not be allowed at any time to establish their own business or to seek permanent employment in the UK.