Tier 5 - Temporary Work

The Tier 5 visa route may be useful for international students that want to do a period of temporary work experience after their studies

What is the Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange visa?
The Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) is a good visa route for you if you are looking for an internship or period of temporary work experience in the UK to help you gain work experience.

Under Tier 5 GAE you do not need to get sponsorship from your employer, in fact the employer cannot sponsor you directly.  Instead you will be sponsored by an 'overarching body' or organisation and they will issue you with a Certificate of Sponsorship to confirm this.  There are various different overarching bodies and schemes available under this visa route so you need to have a look at what would be the most appropriate one for you.  The list of the different sponsors and schemes is available on the UK Visas & immigration (UKBA) website. Some Tier 5 GAE sponsors that may interest you include:

Please note that there is usually a charge for getting sponsorship under this visa category and either you or the employer will have to pay this. 

What requirements are there?

Each scheme has slightly different requirements so you should make sure you meet the requirements of the particular scheme under which you are going to be sponsored.  You can find these out from the individual sponsor, contact details for which are available on the list of schemes on the UK Visas & Immigration website.

In general however, the role must not be used to fill a permanent vacancy (it must be supernumerary). You must also be paid at the national minimum wage (NMW) or above.  You cannot do an unpaid placement on this type of visa.  If you are applying for the Tier 5 GAE visa from within the UK you must also have been awarded your degree. 

How long is the visa issued for?

The visa is issued for a maximum of 12 months and may not be able to be extended as it is intended for temporary work only.  You will also not be permitted to switch into other visa categories within the UK after your placement so you will need to leave the UK no later than the date your Tier 5 visa expires.  If you employer wishes to continue to employ you after this they will need to sponsor you under the Tier 2 visa category and you will need to apply for this visa from outside the UK. 

Can I switch into Tier 5 from Tier 4 within the UK?

Following recent changes students with a Tier 4 Student visa can now apply for the Tier 5 GAE visa within the UK providing that they:

  • have lawfully obtained a UK bachelors, masters degree, PGCE or PGDE during their last grant of leave; AND

  • are being sponsored to undertake postgraduate professional training or work experience which is required to obtain a professional qualification or registration in the same professional field as their qualification described above; OR

  • are being sponsored to undertake an internship or up to 12 months which is directly related to the qualification described above; AND

  • will not be filling a vacancy such that their employer does not intend to employ them at the end of the period of work experience or training.
Can I apply?

This visa allows young people aged between 18 and 30 from participating countries to come to the UK to work for up to 2 years.  You will be permitted to take any kind of work and you can also study, although this must not be the main purpose of your stay in the UK.

The countries and territories participating in the scheme, and the number of places or certificates of sponsorship allocated to them for 2018, are:

  • Australia - 34,000 places
  • Canada - 6,000 places
  • Japan - 1,000 places
  • Monaco - 1,000 places
  • New Zealand - 14,000 places
  • South Korea - 1,000 places (certificates of sponsorship)
  • Taiwan - 1,000 places
  • Hong Kong Special Administrative Region - 1,000 places (certificates of sponsorship)
What points do I need?

For the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme visa you will need 50 points as follows:

30 Points    Nationality – you must be a national of one of the participating countries (as listed in the Immigration Rules)

10 Points    Age – you must be over 18 but under 31 years old on the date that you apply for the visa

10 Points    Maintenance – you must be able to show you have £1890 in an account in your name on the date that you apply. 

In addition you must not have any children under the age of 18 who are living with you or for whom you are financially responsible and you must not previously have had leave as a Working Holidaymaker or under Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme.

For more information on this visa please visit the UKVI website.

 Page last updated 22/03/2018 LB