Tier 5 (Temporary worker - government authorised exchange)
This section explains how you can come to the UK or remain here in the government authorised exchange category (Tier 5 Temporary Worker) under our points-based system to work in the UK.
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What is the government authorised exchange category?
The government authorised exchange category is for people coming to the UK through approved schemes that aim to share knowledge, experience and best practice, and to experience the social and cultural life of the UK. This category must not be used to fill job vacancies or to bring unskilled labour to the UK.
Your sponsor will be an overarching body who manages the government authorised exchange scheme. This overarching body must have the support of a UK government department.
Individual employers and organisations will not be allowed to sponsor migrants in this category, even if they are licensed as sponsors under other tiers or other categories of Tier 5. The only exceptions to this are if you are coming to the UK:
- as a sponsored researcher, where the higher education institution you are coming to work at will be your sponsor; or
- to work for a government department or agency.
Any work you do must be skilled which means it must be equivalent to NVQ or SVQ level 3 or above. This is unless you are taking part in the scheme set up as part of the European Union's lifelong learning programme, where you can do vocational education and training at a lower skill level.
You may be allowed to stay in the UK for up to 12 or 24 months under this category, depending on the scheme you are using and the length of time of your work as shown on your certificate of sponsorship.
Who can apply under the government authorised exchange category?
Before you apply under the government authorised exchange category, you must have:
- a sponsor (the overarching body); and
- a valid certificate of sponsorship.
When you apply you are awarded points based on your sponsorship and available maintenance (funds).
You can apply under the government authorised exchange category now if you are:
- applying for permission to enter the UK (known as 'entry clearance') under the government authorised exchange category;
- already in the UK under the government authorised exchange category and want to extend your permission to stay if you have been here for less than 12 or 24 months (the maximum time you are allowed to stay, which depends on the scheme you are using and when you were granted a visa under this category); or
- already in the UK as a student, student re-sitting an examination, student nurse, student union sabbatical officer, person writing up a thesis, postgraduate doctor or dentist or or Tier 4 (General) migrant and you want to switch into the government authorised exchange category to do work that is directly relevant to the qualification you have been studying for during your stay.
If you are in the UK in another category, you cannot apply to extend your stay by switching into the government authorised exchange category. If you are here in the government authorised exchange scheme for sponsored researchers, you can apply to switch into Tier 1 (Exceptional talent). If you are here in the government authorised exchange category, you cannot apply to extend your stay by switching into any other category of the points-based system. In both cases, you must leave the country before you can apply.
If you are applying from outside the UK, go to the Applying from outside the UK page.
How long can you stay for?
If you are given permission to stay under the government authorised exchange category, you will be able to live and work in the UK for a maximum time of 12 or 24 months (depending on the scheme you are using and when you were granted a visa under this category), or the time given in your certificate of sponsorship plus 28 days, whichever is shorter (starting no more than 14 days before the start date given on your certificate of sponsorship).
If you need to be able to come and go from the UK with your job
If you need to leave and come back to the UK quite a few times as part of the job you are doing, you can get a multiple entry certificate of sponsorship. Your sponsor will give you a multiple entry certificate of sponsorship that allows you to come and go from the UK a number of different times during the length of your certificate.
If you have permission to come (entry clearance) for any length of time, you will be able to leave and come back to the UK during the time you have permission.
If you leave the UK and you were given 6 months or less permission to stay (leave to remain), and did not have a visa (known as 'entry clearance'), your permission to stay ends when you leave the UK.
Tier 5 (Temporary worker) - policy guidance
- Tier 5 (Temporary worker) policy guidance.PDF 486KB opens in a new window
Tier 5 (Temporary worker) - for applications made inside the UKChoose a different form
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This refers to either the Scottish Vocational Qualification or the National Vocational Qualification at level 3. A qualification at this level is one that shows competence that involves the application of knowledge in a broad range of varied work activities performed in a wide variety of contexts, most of which are complex and non-routine. There is considerable responsibility and autonomy and control or guidance of others is often required.
- Approved government authorised exchange schemesPDF 375KB opens in a new window