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UK work experience visas under Tier 5

The Tier 5 visa route enables international students from outside the EEA to undertake temporary work experience, internships or approved training in the UK during or after their studies. Here, we consider the Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) and Youth Mobility schemes under Tier 5 of the Points Based System. Both routes allow a student/graduate to live and work in the UK for 12-24 months.

Tier 5 – Government Authorised Exchange Scheme

In a nutshell, this category is for those coming to the UK through approved schemes that aim to share knowledge, experience and best practice through work placements, whilst experiencing the wider social and cultural setting of the UK.

There are four separate programmes:

  • Work experience programme: 12 month visa for volunteering, job shadowing, internships and approved work experience programmes
  • Research programme: 24 month visa for those working on specific scientific, academic, medical or government research projects at UK higher education institutions/research institutions
  • Overseas government language programme: for language teachers sponsored by their overseas government to carry out teaching placements in the UK
  • Training programme: 24 month visa which includes receiving formal practical training in the fields of science and/or medicine and for those receiving training by HM armed forces

A list of schemes and sponsors can be found in Appendix N of the Immigration Rules.

Monica Atwal

Managing Partner

View profile

+44 118 960 4605

The Tier 5 visa route enables international students from outside the EEA to undertake temporary work experience, internships or approved training in the UK during or after their studies.

Tier 5 – Youth Mobility Scheme

This scheme is open to student/graduates between the ages of 18-30 from:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Monaco
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan

This visa enables the applicant to carry out most jobs in the UK for up to 2 years. The visa cannot be extended beyond 2 years and you cannot switch into a work visa from within the UK. A business which intends to keep such an employee on, can sponsor them under the Tier 2 route, providing the resident labour market test has been satisfied and the applicant applies for entry clearance from outside the UK.

If you are an international student wanting to intern in the UK or a UK business which wishes to take on a non-EEA national under a work experience/training programme, please get in touch with our business immigration lawyers. We can consider which sponsors would be suitable and assist you with any visa application.

About this article

This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

Monica Atwal

Managing Partner

View profile

+44 118 960 4605

About this article

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