Six categories of Tier 5 visa UK


The laws set forth by the United Kingdom covering the Tier 5 UK visa procedures and requirements are covered under Part 6A of the Immigration Act. Part 6A of the immigration rules also cover specific portions of other UK Tier 1, 2 and 4 categories such as the entrepreneur visa UK and the Tier 1 investment visa UK and discusses procedures such as how much to invest in UK to get residency. The Tier 5 visa has been created for people who wish to come to the UK on a temporary basis for work. Anyone who wishes to come for work in the United Kingdom permanently cannot do so on this visa. He/she must then apply for the Tier 2 visa. Under the Tier 5 visa, six categories have been created for separate scenarios of applications that will be entertained by the Home Office of the United Kingdom. These six categories and the details of all relevant procedure and requirements are explained in this article.

Categories of Tier 5 visa

  • Creative and Sportsperson

The validity of this visa type lasts for 1 year and holds for official sportspersons, any category of recognized and professional artists and professional entertainers. The Home Office holds its own criteria for judging who qualifies as a sportsperson, artist or entertainer.

For a sportsperson, you must hold a significant reputation in your profession internationally as well as being an established figure at a professional level. If you are a professional coach in any sport, the Home Office will assess your capabilities as well as your track record to consider you a qualified figure in your field. A sponsor holding a valid certificate must be willing to offer the applicant sponsorship as well as the official established body of the specific sport willing to endorse the sportsperson.

The same criterion of significant recognition also holds for entertainers and artists who must prove to be professionals in their field.

  • Charity Workers

The Tier 5 category for charity workers is, by definition of United Kingdom law, any volunteer work for humanitarian causes that is unpaid. You are sponsored by an official organization who directs you certain work and you can only be applicable for this visa if you do the same work as specified by your sponsor. A legitimate certificate of sponsorship is also required. Points given in this category depend on the certificate of sponsorship and the funds available to the applicant, also known as maintenance funds.

You are not allowed to switch to this category if you are applying from a different visa type. You are allowed to stay in the country for a period of 1 year maximum or the time your sponsor has set in the certificate and an additional twenty eight day period, whichever time period is shorter. You can apply at least fourteen days before the specified date on your sponsorship certificate.

  • Religious Workers

The Tier 5 category for religious workers is any work the applicant wishes to engage in which is of a religious nature, the criteria for which is defined by UK law and used by the Home Office.

The kind of religious work that the applicant can engage in is set forth in the Immigration rules. Religious workers can engage in pastoral and non-pastoral activity as well as be engaged in preaching. You are allowed to engage in work as a religious worker as you would in any normal foreign organization. You can take part in the training of any religious organization or order and involve yourself in work related to within the community.

As with other visa categories in the Tier 5 visa, a sponsorship is required who is willing to offer a legitimate certificate that validates your sponsorship. Points are given for your sponsorship and also on the basis of how much funds the applicant holds in his/her bank account.

An applicant living outside the United Kingdom can apply on this visa category or seek an extension which is a maximum period of 2 years. You can only apply for an extension if you have been in the UK on this visa type for less than 2 years. An additional twenty eight day period is given on top of the 2 years. But, you are not allowed to switch into this category if you are already in the United Kingdom on another visa category. The same rule applies for the opposite condition that you are not allowed to switch to any other visa type if you are availing the religious worker Tier 5 visas.

  • Government Authorised Exchange

This Tier 5 visa category applies to any person who is coming through an official scheme, that is, the nature of a cultural exchange and to specifically study the United Kingdom from a social point of view along with gaining a cultural perspective. Like all other categories of the Tier 5 visa, an official certificate given by an authorized sponsor is required. Points are given on the basis of the sponsorship given along with points given on the basis of the available funds of the applicant. The sponsor is required to be an official body that practices overlooking the government’s authrorised exchange program. The authorization is to be required from an official government department of the United Kingdom. No other sponsors can authorize a certificate even if it is licensed by the government (in any other category). Only two exceptions to this scheme exist. One being that the applicant is researcher that has been sponsored by an educational institute that the applicant is going to be working for. The other exception is that the applicant must be coming to work for an official government department of the United Kingdom or an agency that is also a part of the government of the UK.

The applicant applying on the basis of an official scheme must be doing work that is same as any National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) or any Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) that is at least level 3. You can also do skilled work in a scheme that falls under the European Union’s learning program where the work is the equivalent of a vocational education or constitutes any form of lower level training.

Applicants applying for this category can stay for a period of 1 or 2 years maximum. It is dependent on the scheme the applicant is applying for and the period of work they have specified in the sponsorship certificate.

Any applicant who is currently residing within the United Kingdom or outside is allowed to apply for the Government Authorised Exchange category of the Tier 5 visa. You can switch to this category only if you are currently studying in an educational institute and you are currently availing the student visa. A student taking an examination that he has given before is also allowed to apply. This includes student nurses and any student who is currently writing their thesis. Doctors and dentists of the postgraduate level and sabbatical officers of any student union are also allowed to switch to this category. Any person who is currently residing in the United Kingdom on a Tier 4 General category can also switch to the Government authorized exchange category.

Note that it is crucial to have a valid reason for switching to this category and also providing evidence to support the claim that the current work you are doing on your current visa type relates directly to the work the applicant will be doing on the government authorized exchange Tier 5 visa category.

It is also not allowed to switch to this category from another visa type if it is discovered by the government that the purpose to switch is simply to seek an extension.

  • The International Agreement

Any official government worker who is coming to the United Kingdom as an official representative covered under international law will be coming on this Tier 5 visa category on a temporary basis. Agreements such as the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and other international agreements of a similar purpose are required to be eligible for this category. Employees of international organizations are also eligible to apply for this visa type along with private workers of any diplomatic household.

A sponsor and an official certificate from the sponsor are required. Points are given on the basis of the sponsorship along with the available funds to the applicant.

You are allowed to apply if you are currently residing outside of the United Kingdom and can apply for an extension for a maximum period of 2 years. You are only allowed to lengthen your stay for a period of 1 year at once for a total of six years. You are not allowed to change the employer specified on your application after you have arrived in the United Kingdom.

You are not allowed to switch into this category or vice versa.

  • Youth Mobility Scheme

The United Kingdom has set forth a certain number of vacancies for citizens of seven countries who want to enter the United Kingdom on a temporary basis to enjoy the culture and life in the country. The government has set forth 35000 vacancies for the people of Australia and 5,500 vacancies for the people of Canada. Similarly, a thousand vacancies each have been allocated to Monaco and Japan, Taiwan and Korea. New Zealand has been allocated a total of ten thousand vacancies.

A certificate of sponsorship is required for applicants who are citizens of the Republic of Korea and Taiwan.

The government of the country from where the citizen holds his nationality will be the official sponsor in this Tier 5 visa category and any British citizen who is currently overseas or belongs to any territory of the United Kingdom government.

A total of 50 points are required for this visa category and between the ages of 18 and 31. The applicant must also hold at very least a total of GBP 1800 to score ten points.

What is the point-based system and how is it related to the Tier 5 visa?

A certain points-based system has been created by the government, on the basis of which the Tier 5 visas along with all other visas such as the Tier 1 investment visa UK, entrepreneur visa UK and many others of all UK Tier 1, 2, 4 and 5 visas are granted. If the applicant fails to achieve the minimum points required for the Tier 5 visa, he/she will fail to qualify for the visa.

In this category, points are given on the basis of funds available as well as the sponsorship given. You can apply for this visa if you currently outside of the UK. You can stay in the country for a period of 1 year or the time specified the sponsorship and an additional twenty eight days. You are given a period of one year to stay further in the United Kingdom if you apply for the Tier 5 visa as a sportsperson while in the country. The extension for creative artists holds for a maximum of two years. But, note that this extension holds only if you are working with your original sponsor and can extend for longer than a year if you continue to work with your original sponsor.

If you are applying as a sportsperson or any other in this category, and you are coming to the country for a specific event, then you cannot apply in this category. You can switch categories if you are already in the United Kingdom.