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UK Temporary Worker Visa

If you want to work in the UK on a short-term basis to undertake certain types of employment, you may be eligible for a Temporary Work Visa.

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    What is a Temporary Work Visa?

    The Temporary Work Visa is a type of UK Work Visa that is used by people who need to come to the UK to work in a temporary job.

    It replaced the old Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Visa. Although some of the same categories exist in the new system, there are some key differences.

    Changes to the UK’s immigration system means that EU citizens who wish to work in the UK on a short-term basis must now apply for a Temporary Work Visa.

    The types of jobs a person is allowed to take on are limited, and there are several different sub-categories under this route. Someone with entry clearance under this route is usually prohibited from working in the role for longer than 12 months.

    To meet the requirements for this type of visa, applicants must have a job offer from a UK employer, who holds a Sponsor Licence. If they do not have this, they are not eligible to make an application. The sub-categories of this visa type have similar requirements, but they are industry/ sector-focused.

    The sub-category which differs the most is the Youth Mobility Scheme – which allows young people from certain countries to travel to the UK as job seekers, meaning they do not need to meet the same job offer requirement as the other temporary categories.

    You can find out more about this visa category by calling our team on 0121 667 6530.

    We can assist you by advising you on your eligibility, or overseeing your appeal package the entire case for you. Get in touch now to find out more.

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    Temporary Work Visa categories

    There are different types of T5 temporary work categories. The appropriate one for you depends on the kind of work you wish to undertake once you are in the UK. These are as follows:

    • Charity Worker Visa: this is for people who wish to work in unpaid and voluntary roles at a registered UK charity.
    • Creative and Sporting Visa: this is for highly-skilled sportspeople and creatives. A ‘creative’ is defined as a performer or artists (an example could be an actor or musician). A ‘sportsperson’ is defined as someone who is internationally recognised at the highest level of their sport.
    • Government Authorised Exchange: this is for nationals of countries that have signed an approved exchange scheme. Usually, people who use this scheme do work experience, training, or academic research in the UK. Others also take part in an Overseas Government Language Programme.
    • International Agreement Worker Visa: this is for workers whose job offer is covered by international law. For example, this might be embassy representatives or diplomats. These must be under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) programme.
    • Religious Worker Visa: this is for people who wish to undertake work as a preacher, or take on a role in a convent, monastery or other religious order in Britain.
    • Seasonal Worker Visa: for individuals seeking to come to the UK for up to six months for the purposes of farm work
    • Youth Mobility Scheme Visa: this is for individuals between the ages of 18 and 30 from certain countries who wish to take on work and/or intern in the UK.
    • The Sportsperson Visa: allows talented athletes and sportspeople to enter the country to compete or be involved in sports-related activities at the highest level.

    Temporary Work Visa general Requirements

    There are several eligibility requirements that UKVI expects applicants to meet before they submit an application.

    In order to meet the general requirements, you must have:

    • A formal job offer from a UK employer that holds a valid Sponsor Licence.
    • A Certificate of Sponsorship that has been issued by your prospective employer.
    • A minimum of £1,270 in savings, which must be in your bank account at least 90 days before you submit your visa application.
    • The ability to meet the other eligibility requirements for your specific visa category.

    You may need to pass an English language test depending on your chosen category.

    You can do this by either passing an English language test with a certified provider or, if you have one, showing evidence of a degree that was taught in English.

    Sponsors of other temporary worker visas and workers are required to fulfil certain duties, including keeping your work documents up-to-date and being prepared for Home Office inspections.

    How to Apply For a Temporary Worker Visa

    here are the general steps you would typically follow to apply for a Temporary Worker Visa (Tier 5 visa) in the UK:

    • Check Eligibility: Determine if you are eligible for a Temporary Worker Visa. This might involve having a job offer from a UK-based employer with a valid sponsor license.
    • Sponsorship: Your UK employer must be a licensed sponsor to employ you under the T5 visa (Temporary Worker) category. They will provide you with a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS).
    • Online Application: Complete the online visa application form on the official UK government website. You will need to create an account and provide required information.
    • Pay the Application Fee: Pay the relevant application fee, which can vary depending on factors like the type of Temporary Worker Visa you’re applying for and your nationality.
    • Healthcare Surcharge: Pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, which will grant you access to the National Health Service (NHS) during your stay.
    • Biometric Information: Depending on your nationality, you might need to visit a local visa application centre to provide your biometric information (fingerprints and photograph).
    • Documents: Prepare and submit the required documents, which may include your valid passport, the Certificate of Sponsorship (COS), proof of funds, and any other documents specified in the application guidelines.
    • TB Test (if applicable): If you’re from a country where a tuberculosis (TB) test is required, you’ll need to complete this test and provide the relevant certificate.
    • Confirmation of Application: After submitting your application and attending the biometric appointment (if necessary), you’ll receive a confirmation of your application.
    • Decision: The processing time for a Temporary Worker Visa can vary. If approved, you’ll receive a vignette in your passport, which will allow you to travel to the UK.
    • Collect Biometric Residence Permit (BRP): Once you arrive in the UK, you’ll need to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) from a designated post office within 10 days.

    Creative and sporting requirements


    A third creative worker visa is someone who works within the creative industry, including dancers, actors, models, film crew members, or musicians (as well as other roles). You can apply for this category if you are going to fulfil a role that could not have been filled by a domestic worker.

    Sponsors of creatives must prove that each person they wish you to sponsor for any show or project demonstrates a specialist skill that they cannot find elsewhere. For example, if they are a skilled ballet dancer, or they have been cast in a certain specific role.


    To be eligible for this route, a person must be either an athlete or coach. They must have represented their national team or country for at least two years previously, or have an established international reputation in their specific sport.

    Authorised government exchange and international agreements

    Authorised government exchange

    People who want to apply under this route come to the UK to learn new skills and take on work placements. This visa cannot be used for unskilled workers.

    Employers are not allowed to sponsor any workers under this category; sponsors can be an organisation overseeing an authorised exchange scheme, a higher education institution, or a government department or agency.

    International agreement

    This category is for people who need to come to the UK to provide a service covered by international law.

    This includes private servants in diplomatic households, embassy representatives, and employees of overseas governments.

    Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to learn how to apply for a Temporary Work Visa. Contact us

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      Supporting documents

      There are several documents you need to provide to prove you are eligible for a Temporary Work Visa. These include:

      • Proof of an official job offer from a UK employer (such as an HR email or letter)
      • A Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) that has been issued by your sponsor
      • Bank statements that show you have at least £1,270 in savings and that these were in your bank account at least 90 days before you made an application

      You may also need to show that you have completed and passed an English language test, depending on which subcategory you apply under.

      Youth Mobility Scheme

      You can apply for this scheme if you are between the ages of 18 and 30 and you are from a country that is listed as eligible for the scheme. This route allows you to stay in the UK for up to two years while job-seeking and working.

      Nationals from Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, San Marino, and Taiwan are eligible for this scheme.

      The requirements dictate that applicants must have at least £2,530 worth of savings and that they cannot have travelled to the UK using any other type of working holiday visa in the past.

      Certificates of Sponsorship

      A Certificate of Sponsorship – also called a CoS – refers to a reference number that is linked to information about your prospective job and personal details. A CoS is not a physical paper document.

      You will need to submit your CoS when you make an application for a Temporary Work Visa (or when an employer makes an application on your behalf). This reference number is supplied to you by your employer and an application for a Temporary Worker Visa cannot be made without one.

      Your sponsorship number is valid for three months from the date it is assigned to you.

      You can usually use your Certificate of Sponsorship when leaving and returning to the UK during the course of your stay.

      Waiting time and application fee

      Waiting time

      From the date you submit your application to the date you receive a decision; you are likely to have to wait approximately eight weeks.

      The earliest you can apply for the visa is three months before the date you intend to start work. You can find this date on your Certificate of Sponsorship.

      Application fee

      The cost for the application for the majority of the Temporary Visas is £259. There is no difference based on whether you are inside or outside the UK.

      How long does a Temporary Work Visa last?

      Most types of Temporary Work Visas last for the period of time the role is required for. For example, with temporary worker visa applications if you need to come to the UK to take on a placement of four months, your leave to remain will be for four months. The maximum amount of time you can stay and work in the UK with a visa under this route is 12 months.

      There are exceptions to this. For example, the Youth Mobility Scheme allows holders to come to come to the UK for a set two-year period.

      Who can apply for a Temporary Work Visa?

      Any non-British or non-Irish national can apply for a Temporary Work Visa as long as they can prove that they have a valid job offer which fits the category of temporary worker visa application they are applying under. This must be from a UK-based institution and employer that holds a valid sponsor licence.

      A person must also be financially stable and must be able to prove that they have savings to support themselves before they receive their first wage from their employer. This should be to the sum of £1,270, and this must be present in their bank account at least 90 days before the application is made.

      What is the difference between the Skilled Worker and Temporary Worker categories?

      The Skilled Worker and Temporary Worker Visas are both categories under the points-based system. The Skilled Worker Visa is different in that it is a form of semi-permanent type of work visa.

      Unlike Temporary Work Visas, the Skilled Worker route can also be used as a way to qualify for settled status and apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, and potentially even British citizenship after some years.

      You are also permitted to extend the Skilled Worker Visa (if you meet eligibility requirements).

      But there are also some similarities between the two. Applicants for both routes need to have a job offer to apply, and they also need to be sponsored by their prospective employer. They also need to show they fulfil other similar criteria, like financial and English language requirements.

      Can I get ILR from a Temporary Worker Visa?

      As this type of visa is not permanent, you cannot use it as a route to indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

      The types of visa that can be used as qualifying time for this form of settlement include:

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              How can Birmingham immigration lawyers help you apply for a Temporary Worker Visa?

              At Birmingham Immigration Lawyers, our team of highly skilled and committed lawyers are resolutely focused on alleviating this burden of stress for you.

              We possess the expertise to:

              • Thoroughly Assemble Documentation: We’ll ensure that you possess all requisite documents essential for your application process.
              • Verify Citizenship Requirements: Our experts will meticulously verify that you fulfil the stipulated requirements for the Temporary Worker visa.
              • Validate Relationship Proof: We will rigorously assess and substantiate the validity of your marriage or civil partnership evidence.
              • Exemplary Application Form Completion: Our dedicated professionals will meticulously fill out every detail of your application form to the utmost standard, thereby significantly enhancing the likelihood of a successful Naturalisation application.
              • Optimise Acceptance Chances: We are committed to maximizing the prospects of your application being approved.

              Let us guide you through your immigration application, ensuring that each step is undertaken with the highest level of expertise and attention to detail.

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                A Temporary Visa can be used by performers and artists who want to work in the UK for projects, shows, and exhibitions.

                This can be done by applying under the Creative and Sportsperson category.

                If you are an artist and you need to hire a troupe of international creatives (such as if you are a director putting on a show in Britain, for example) you need to hold a Sponsor Licence and, when sponsoring workers, you need to prove to UKVI that every individual possesses specific, necessary skills.

                Yes, several UK work visa routes exist that don’t need a job offer from a UK licensed sponsor, such as the High Potential Individual visa, Graduate route, and Global Talent visas. As with any visa, these pathways have specific requirements that must still be met.

                Check the UK government’s official website for a list of accredited sponsors. This is recommended as these sponsors have been vetted by the Home Office.