Short-term work visa

The short term work visa is a temporary visa normally granted for any period up to a maximum of 12 or 24 months to those who meet the criteria set out under each category. Under the current Points Based System, short-term work visas come under Tier 5 and the UK government has indicated that some of these routes will be extended to EU nationals from January 2021 and continue to operate as it is now. The current Tier 5 categories are as below.

  • Charity Worker
  • Religious Worker
  • Seasonal Worker
  • Creative and Sporting
  • Youth Mobility scheme
  • International Agreement
  • Government Authorised Exchange
Charity Worker

This category is for people coming to the UK to do voluntary unpaid work for a charity. The work must be directly related to the work of the applicant’s employer in the charity sector, who must also have a Tier 5 sponsor licence. The maximum period of visa duration granted under this scheme is 12 months and applicants must also meet the maintenance requirements.

Religious Worker

This route is for individuals to come to the UK, who want to engage in temporary religious work, such as preaching or working in a religious order, if sponsored by a Home Office approved religious organisation. The maximum duration for this type of leave is 24 months and applicants must also satisfy the maintenance requirement. If the applicants are looking for a longer duration and/or intend to engage in preaching and pastoral work, they should consider applying under Tier 2 Minister of Religion.

Seasonal Worker

This route is for workers to come to the UK to do farm work for a maximum period of 6 months. The applicants must be sponsored by an organisation approved by the Home Office as a Tier 5 sponsor and meet the maintenance requirements. The government indicated that this route will remain and provide employers with further ongoing flexibility in employing individuals into lower-skilled roles.

Creative and Sporting

The creative and sporting worker category is for people coming to the UK to work or perform as sportspeople, entertainers or creative artists. This visa is granted to sportspersons for a maximum period of 12 months and no further extension is possible. For a Creative person, this leave is initially granted for 12 months and is possible to extend up to a maximum total stay of 24 months.

In order to qualify as a Sports person, the applicant must make a significant contribution to your sport at the highest level in the UK, be sponsored by a Home Office approved sponsor and meet the maintenance requirements. The Creative sector applicants must also make a significant and unique contribution to the UK labour market and must meet the minimum salary requirements as set out by Equity, Pact or BECTU (with some exceptions) and meet the maintenance requirements.

Youth Mobility scheme

This scheme is for individuals from selective countries between the age of 18 and 30 to visit, live and work in the UK for a period of up to 2 years. The applicants must be from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan. In addition to this, all British Overseas Citizens, Overseas Territories Citizens and British Nationals Overseas also qualify under this scheme. This scheme can only be applied once and applicants who previously applied for the old Working Holidaymaker scheme or have children that live together or have financial responsibility will not qualify. This application has to be made from the applicant’s home country and no dependents are eligible to apply with the main applicant.

International Agreement

This scheme is for those people coming to the UK under contract to do work that is covered under international law while in the UK. This includes workers under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and similar agreements, employees of overseas governments and international organisations, and private servants in diplomatic households. The employers must issue a CoS and the applicants must meet maintenance requirements.

Government Authorised Exchange

This visa is for people who want to come to the UK for a short time to do work experience or training, an overseas government language programme, research, or a fellowship under a government-approved exchange arrangement. The UK government has established a number of approved GAE programmes, and applicants and their employers must contact the scheme’s overseeing authority for authorisation before submitting a visa application. Prior to the newly introduced graduate immigration path, this route is also popular among international students as a post-study work experience alternative.