What is a Tier 5 Visa?
The Tier 5 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. The types of jobs a person is allowed to take on are limited, and there are several different sub-categories under the Tier 5 category. Someone with entry clearance under this route is usually prohibited to work in the role for 12 months or less.
To meet the requirements for this type of Temporary Worker Visa, applicants must have a job offer from a UK employer, who holds a Tier 5 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 jobseekers, meaning they do not need to meet the same job offer requirement as the other Tier 5 categories.
You can find out more about this Work Visa category by calling our team on 0121 667 6530. We can assist you by advising you on your eligibility, or overseeing your entire case for you. Get in touch now to find out more.
Tier 5 sub-categories
There are different Tier 5 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 workers: this is for people who wish to work in unpaid and voluntary roles at a registered UK charity.
- Creative and sporting: this is for highly-skilled sports people 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: 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 Workers: 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.
- Youth Mobility Scheme: this is for individuals between the ages of 18 and 30 from certain countries who wish to take on work and/intern in the UK.
Tier 5 general requirements
There are several eligibility requirements that the UKVI expect Tier 5 applicants to meet before they submit an application.
In order to meet the general Tier 5 requirements, you must have:
- A valid job offer from a UK employer that holds a valid Tier 5 Sponsor Licence.
- A Certificate of Sponsorship that has been issued by your prospective employer.
- A minimum of £945 in savings, which must be in your bank account at least 90 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 which of the sub-categories you apply under.
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.
Tier 5 sponsors are required to fulfill certain duties, including keeping your work documents up-to-date and being prepared for Home Office visits.
Tier 5 creative and sporting requirements
‘Creative workers’ can be dancers, actors, models, or musicians (as well as other roles). You can apply for this category if you are going to fulfill a role that could not have been filled by a domestic worker.
Tier 5 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/country for at least two years previously, or have an established international reputation in their specific sport.
Authorised government exchange & international agreements
Authorised government exchange
People who want to apply under this Tier 5 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 must be academic researchers of representatives of UK educational institutions, like a university.
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.
There are several documents you need to provide to prove you are eligible for a Tier 5 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 £945 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 the Youth Mobility 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 jobseeking and working.
Nationals from Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, and Taiwan are eligible for this scheme.
The requirements dictate that applicants must have at least £1,809 worth of savings and that they cannot have traveled 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 Tier 5 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 Tier 5 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.
The Tier 5 ‘genuine migrant test’
When you apply for any visa under this category, the Home Office will check if you are genuine. They will do this by looking for evidence to show that you have a genuine job offer for a role that you are able and willing to fill. This test is used for all temporary visas apart from the seasonal employment scheme.
The UKVI will look at:
- Your knowledge of the role
- Your previous, relevant work experience
- An explanation of the recruitment process for the role, from you and your planned employer
As part of your Migrant Test, you may also need to show additional information about your working experience. In some cases, you will be asked to attend an interview.
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Most types of Tier 5 Visa last up for the period of time the role is required for. For example, if you need to come to the UK to take on a placement of four months, your Tier 5 leave to remain will last for four months. The maximum amount of time you can stay and work in the UK with a Temporary Work 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.
Anyone can apply for a Tier 5 Work Visa, as long as they can prove that they have a valid job offer which fits the subcategory 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 pay-cheque in Britain. This should be to the sum of £945, and this must be in their bank account at least 90 days before the application is made.
Tier 2 and Tier 5 are both categories under the points-based system. The Tier 2 Visa is different in that it is a permanent type of Work Visa; Tier 5 is temporary.
Unlike Tier 5, the Tier 2 route can also be used as a way to qualify for settled status and apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. Tier 5 cannot.
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 fulfill other similar criteria, like financial and English language requirements.
Generally, the key difference between the Tier 2 and Tier 5 Visa categories centre on the fact that the first is permanent while the second is temporary.
As this type of visa is a Temporary Worker Visa, 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:
- Tier 1 Visas (for businesspeople and exceptionally talented people)
- Tier 2 Visas (for skilled, permanent workers)
- Spouse Visas (for partners of British citizens)
A Tier 5 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 through applying under the Tier 5 ‘Creative & Sportsperson’ category.
If you are an artist and you need to hire a whole troupe of international creatives (such as if you are a director putting on a show in Britain, for example) you need to hold a Tier 5 Sponsor Licence and, when sponsoring workers, you need to prove to UKVI that every individual possesses specific, necessary skills.