TIER 5 Youth Mobility

Tier 5 of the points- based system came into force on 27 November 2008. Tier 5 enables young overseas nationals to experience life and culture in the UK and also permits workers to undertake short term or temporary employment in the UK. 

Tier 5 replaced the following  immigration categories: 

  • Au pairs 
  • Domestic workers in Diplomatic Households 
  • Gap year 
  • China Graduate Work Experience 
  • General Agreement on Trade in services (GATS) 
  • Japan: Youth Exchange Scheme 
  • MP’s Research Assistants 
  • Ministers of religion, missionaries and members of religious orders 
  • Overseas government employees 
  • Sportspeople 
  • Training and Work Experience Scheme 
  • Voluntary workers 
  • Working holidaymakers 

Tier 5 consists of two main categories under the points based system; the Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) and  Tier 5 (Temporary Workers) which is made up of five sub-categories, as follows: 


Tier 5 (Youth Mobility)

A. About the scheme 

Applicants will only be able to apply for the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility) scheme once in a lifetime. Those  who have previously spent time in the UK as a working holidaymaker will not be eligible for this scheme. 

It should be noted that each country listed in Tier 5 (Youth Mobility) will have an annual allocation of places under this scheme. If a country exceeds its allocation ‘quota’, no further applications will be accepted from their nationals.

The Home Office will now check that applicants are genuine and that they intend to meet the conditions of the leave they apply for.


To discuss your visa application contact with one of our immigration lawyers by phone 
+44 (0) 207 907 1460 (London),
+7 495 933 7299 (Moscow), 
+971 509 265 140 (Dubai)
or complete our enquiry format on the top of the site

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B. Requirements 

Applicants intending to apply under this scheme will need to satisfy the following criteria: 

  • Be aged between 18-30 
  • Have no dependants 
  • Be sponsored by their national government if from a participating country (see Section C below)
  • Demonstrate the availability of at least £1,890 in funds
  • Be required to obtain entry clearance 

It is important to note that individuals will not be eligible for the YMS if they have children under 18 years of age who are living with them or for whom they provide financial support.

Applicants will need to score a total of 50 points for the above criteria which is detailed in the next section. 

C. Points Assessment 

Applicants will need to satisfy a points test and maintenance requirement under this scheme. A total score of 50 points is required in order for applicants to successfully submit an application for the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility) scheme. 

Points are awarded under the following headings: 

(i.) National of a country participating in the Youth Mobility Scheme – 30 points
To score points under this section, applicants will need to be a citizen of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand; or a British Overseas Citizen, British Overseas Territories Citizen or a British National (Overseas)

(ii) Age – 10 points
To score points under this section, applicants will need to be between 18 years of age and 30 years of age

(iii) Maintenance (Funds) – 10 points
To score points under this section, applicants will need to prove that that they have sufficient funding to support themselves in the UK. The requirement is to show £1,800 (£1890 from 01 July 2014) in their own personal bank account.

D. Visa Validity and Extension 

Applicants successful under the Tier 5 (YMS) will be granted Entry Clearance valid for 2 years 

YMS migrants are therefore able to stay in the UK for the full period of the 2 years. 

Please note that applicants on the YMS are not entitled to extend their stay on this visa OR switch into any other immigration category whilst in the UK. 

E. Applying for Entry Clearance 

Applicants are able to apply for Entry Clearance under the YMS from the following places: 

  • applicant’s home country; or 
  • the country where the applicants is residing provided the entry clearance post is authorised to accept YMS applications and the applicant has been residing in that country for more than 6 months 

Please note that applicants for the YMS can only apply from outside of the UK. Applications from within the UK will not be accepted. 

F. What work is allowed under the YMS? 

YMS migrants have the freedom to access the job market during their stay in the UK, except employment as a professional sportsperson or a doctor in training. Migrants are also permitted some self-employed activities however these are subject to conditions. 

It is advised to seek advice on what types of employment/self –employment are permitted as any work or business activity which does not fall in line with the terms of the YMS will breach conditions of leave under this scheme. Further guidance is available at present on the Home Office website.

YMS migrants are also entitled to study in the UK if this is privately funded and/or engage in voluntary work and au pair placements in the UK. 

Administrative Review 

Applicants who have their applications refused under the points based system are entitled to have the decision reviewed free of charge. 

Individuals who wish to exercise their right for an Administrative Review will have to make this request within 28 days of the date of receipt of the refusal notice. The applicant is not entitled to send any additional documents or fresh evidence with the review request. Finally, applicants will only be entitled to request ONE review request per refusal decision. 

What services we can offer? 

  • We can advise on the procedure of making the Tier 5 (YMS) application. 
  • We can assess the applicant’s circumstances and advise on the likelihood of a valid application 
  • We can advise and represent our clients in making their entry clearance applications
  • We can make a request for an administrative review should the application be unsuccessful 
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