If you have a passion for travelling and you’re under the age of 30, a Tier 5 visa is a great and cost-effective way for you to live and work in the UK. These are the ins and outs of the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme.
Do it all with the UK working holiday visa
If you want to spend time travelling across Europe, a working holiday in the UK is a great way for you to do it. Not only can you experience the EU, but you can also make some extra money and gain international work experience.
Australians travelling on the Tier 5 visa can live and work in the UK for up to two years. During this time you can study and/or be employed in the UK. A working holiday visa allows multiple entries in and out of the UK.
What work you can do on a Tier 5 visa
The Youth Mobility visa is an open visa and does not limit you to working part-time or temporary jobs. The only restriction is that you cannot work as a sports coach, doctor or dentist while on the Tier 5 visa.
Popular choices for young travellers on a working holiday visa are in the hospitality and service industries. These sorts of jobs provide flexible schedules so that once you’ve earned enough money for the next leg of your trip you can continue travelling again.
Who is eligible?
To qualify for the Tier 5 visa you must:
Be 18-30 years old and apply for the visa before turning 31
Have no dependants under the age of 18 who you are financially responsible for
Have sufficient funds in your bank account for 90 days (£1,890)
Not currently be living in the UK
This visa is available to people from the following countries:
You can also apply for a Tier 5 visa if you are a British national from another country besides the UK.
How to get a UK Tier 5 visa
You can apply for your Tier 5 visa online six months before the date you plan to travel to the UK. These are the documents you’ll need to complete your application:
Your current passport
Any previous passports and records of previous travel
Your parents birth dates and the location they were born
The address of the place you will be staying while in the UK
Filling out the visa application is the first step in the process. You will also need to pay the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS), have biometrics taken and then collect your visa.
Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS)
If you’re from a country outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or you’re applying to stay in the UK for more than six months and aren’t planning to apply to remain in the UK permanently then you’ll need to pay the IHS.
After you’ve made the IHS payment, you’ll receive a reference number which you must include in your visa application. Your IHS reference number is what allows you to make use of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) from the moment you arrive.
Biometrics Residence Permit (BRP)
A BRP is a type of identity card that shows your personal details, biometric information and immigration status. Think of it as your residence permit and official form of identification for your stay in the UK.
In order to get a BRP you will need to have your biometrics taken. To do this you must visit a biometric centre in your home country. There they will take your photo, fingerprints and collect your signature. To have your biometrics done you must bring the following documents with you:
A printed and signed Tier 5 visa application
Appointment booking confirmation letter
Your IHS reference number
Collect your visa
Once your visa is approved it will be printed into your passport and you can return to the biometric centre to retrieve your passport, or alternatively it can be mailed to you. From the moment that your passport is returned and you have your Youth Mobility visa, you can travel to the UK.
How much a Youth Mobility visa costs
The visa alone will cost you £244 but there are other fees to consider. Extra costs might include a UKVI visa government fee, healthcare surcharge fee and an optional UKVI priority processing government fee.
You’ve touched down in the UK, now what?
Collect your biometric residence permit
From the moment you land in the UK you have ten days to collect your BRP from the Post Office. You will be fined £1,000 if you fail to collect it within the ten day period.
Open a UK bank account
For your employer to be able to pay you, you’ll need to get a UK bank account. All banks offer different plans for foreign nationals so it’s important to research your options before setting up an account.
Get a National Insurance number
While you’re working in the UK you will need an NI number. This is a unique code that the UK government uses to track your taxes and National Insurance contributions. If you fail to get an NI number you will have to pay emergency tax rates which are substantially higher than normal tax rates.
Extending your stay beyond the two years
When your two years are up, you won’t be able to stay and work in the UK on the Youth Mobility visa. If you receive a job offer or sponsorship from an employer who wants you to continue working for them in the UK, you must return to Australia and apply for a Tier 2 sponsored visa.
Other visas that would allow you to stay in the UK if you do not receive a job offer are:
Ancestry: If you have a grandparent who was born in the UK, you might be eligible to apply for an Ancestry visa.
EEA family permit: If you are married to or in a relationship with an EU national you can apply for an EEA family permit.
UK family visa: If you are married or in a relationship with a British national or someone who has settled status in the UK, you may be eligible to apply for a family visa to join your partner.
Need help extending your visa?
Working with a third-party organisation can be the difference between an approved visa and a costly rejection. Before submitting your Tier 5 visa application, speak to an immigration professional and ensure that you’ve done everything correctly.