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Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme

Across the world, there are many different cultures and countries that share values with the UK. Although many nations will have distinctly different attitudes and cultural heritage, there is a lot to be learned from an exchange of citizens; UK nationals can broaden their horizons through foreign travel, and likewise foreign nationals can learn and develop from living in the UK. As a result, there are many individuals in countries thousands of miles away who have connections with Britain, and who want to seek out opportunities in this country.

The creation of a Tier 5 temporary visa to permit these individuals to live and work in the UK has provided a valuable pathway through which individuals all over the world can come to the UK to work and study. This route allows young adults to enter the UK from countries all over the world and has many significant benefits both for the UK and for their overseas partners. Many of these countries have historical ties with the UK, but many major sovereign nations also participate in the Youth Mobility visa.

Throughout this article, we’ll touch on the main considerations which applicants should be aware of when submitting a request for this visa. This will cover the unique requirements and criteria which must be fulfilled, but applicants will still need to refer to the Government’s own documentation before applying, which is available from the Home Office Immigration website.

Youth Mobility Visa - Quick Facts

The Youth Mobility Scheme differs from many other Tier 5 visas, so it’s important to establish what the underpinning attributes of this type of visa are. Here are some of the key aspects associated with the youth mobility scheme visa

  • Maximum Stay:

    24 months, during which time the applicant may leave and re-enter the country as they wish

  • Costs:

    £235, plus a healthcare surcharge (usually £200 per year, though this can be reduced in some cases)

  • Timeline:

    May be applied for up to 6 months before travelling, and usually takes 3 weeks to process

Who is the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa for?

The concept behind the youth mobility scheme is to enable young people from all over the world to live and work in the UK. The main requirements for this visa are that the applicant must be between the ages of 18 and 30, and must be a citizen of a participating nation. The terms of this visa are fairly open and allow applicants to study and work in the UK whilst they’re living here, and place no restrictions on the type of work they can carry out.

Which are the participating countries?

As previously mentioned, applicants will need to be citizens of qualifying countries in order to apply for this form of visa. Citizens of the following countries are able to submit applications for the Youth Mobility Scheme visa:

  • Canada
  • Japan
  • Monaco
  • Australia
  • Hong Kong
  • New Zealand
  • Taiwan
  • Republic of Korea

There are certain individuals in other countries who are also able to apply for this visa if they hold a certain level of British citizenship. Under the terms of the visa application, individuals may still apply if they are:

  • British Overseas Citizen
  • British Overseas Territories Citizen
  • British National (Overseas)

These forms of citizenship do not entitle the individual to full rights to work and live in the UK, but they do entitle them to hold a British passport and to seek consular assistance. Many of Britain’s former colonial possessions confer these forms of citizenship on their residents, and this extends the ability to apply for the Youth Mobility visa to citizens of Gibraltar, Montserrat, the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda and the Pitcairn Islands (amongst many others - a full list is available from the UK Immigration website).

Citizens who are applying from the Republic of Korea or Hong Kong will need to obtain a certificate of sponsorship reference number which must be submitted along with their application. This provides details of the work they’ll be carrying out in the UK, and should be obtained from their employer before making an application.

Requirements of a Youth Mobility Visa:

In addition to being a qualifying individual, applicants must ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria for entry into the UK. This means they’ll need to hold at least £1,890 in their bank account, as proof that they’ll be able to maintain themselves during their stay in the UK. This is twice as much as is required for most other Tier 5 applications, but does not need to have been held for 90 days; this reflects the fact that many applicants will be financed by their parents to visit the UK.

Beyond this, applicants must not have children who live with them or who they’re financially responsible for, and must not have held this form of visa in the past.

Restrictions of a Youth Mobility Visa:

This form of visa grants a fair amount of freedom to those who enter the country under it, and entrants are permitted to both work and study in any field they choose. However, as with any visa, there are certain limitations on what is allowed, and it’s important that applicants understand what these limitations are before applying:

Applicants can:

  • Study in any field, though some courses might require approval from the Academic Technology Approval Scheme.
  • Work in most jobs
  • Start a business, although they must not hire employees, own property or hold more than £5,000 of assets.

Applicants cannot:

  • Bring any dependants into the country with them; relatives will need to make their own application.
  • Extend their stay
  • Access public funds
  • Work as a professional sportsperson, nor as a doctor dentist in training.

The terms of this visa are well-suited to a wide variety of applicants, and allow many different individuals to enter the UK. This visa promotes healthy international relationships and allows the UK to benefit from many different cultures around the globe.

Tier 5 Visa guides

  • Tier 5 Visa Overview

    Tier 5 Visa Overview - a guide for people looking to enter the UK on a Tier 5 visa or those wishing to renew a Tier 5 Visa.

  • Tier 5 Charity Worker Visa

    Tier 5 Charity Worker Visa is for migrants who want to come to the UK to work as an unpaid volunteer for a charitable organisation.

  • Tier 5 Creative and Sporting Visa

    Tier 5 Creative and Sporting Visa is aimed at a small number of highly skilled people looking to work as sportspeople, entertainers or creative artists.

  • Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange Visa

    Tier 5 government authorised exchange visa is for people coming to the UK through approved schemes that aim to share knowledge, experience and best practice.

  • Tier 5 International Agreement Visa

    Tier 5 International Agreement Visa category is for people coming to the UK under contract to do work that is covered under international law.

  • Tier 5 Religious Worker Visa

    Tier 5 Religious Worker Visa category is for people who want to come to the UK in order to undertake temporary religious work.


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