The Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange)

With the academic year fast approaching, many people are looking for ways to keep their summer holidays occupied in a proactive way. The UK (via the Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) scheme). allows temporary workers to come to the UK for the purpose of work experience, training to participate in an Overseas Government Language Programme, complete research or complete a fellowship through one of the authorised schemes.

The requirements for this visa are as follows; you will need to be able to demonstrate the ability to support yourself as well as a certificate of sponsorship from one of the authorised schemes, a higher education institution or a government agency. The work, training or research in the UK  that the individual undertakes must relate to the work of the sponsor’s organisation.

If already in the UK, you can only switch in this category if you are currently on a Tier 4 Visa.

On this visa, individuals will be able to stay in the UK for up to 12 or 24 months depending on the scheme you have applied for. In addition to carrying out the duties you are sponsored to undertake, you are also able to work in a second job for up to 20 hours a week and bring certain family members with you to the UK.

Below is a more detailed list of what you can and can’t do

What you can and cannot do

You can:

  • set up a business or several businesses
  • work for your business – this includes being employed as a director, or self-employed as a member of a business partnership
  • bring family members with you

You cannot:

  • do any work outside your business, for example work where you’re employed by another business
  • work as a doctor or dentist in training
  • work as a professional sportsperson, for example a sports coach
  • get public funds

You will also need to take a TB test if you are from a country that is required to undertake a TB test.

The earliest you can apply for a visa is 3 months before the date you are due to start work. This date is on your certificate of sponsorship.

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.