Tier 5. Temporary Workers - Charity Workers

Tier 5 of the points-based system 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 the Tier 5 (Temporary Workers) which is made up of five sub-categories, as follows:


Tier 5 (Temporary Workers)

The Tier 5 (Temporary Workers) scheme provides individuals the opportunity to come to the UK with a job offer for a specific purpose and for temporary/short term employment. The scheme consists of five subcategories as above.

All applicants will be required to have both a sponsor and a valid ‘certificate of sponsorship’ before applying for leave to be employed under this scheme. This certificate of sponsorship is designed to act as a declaration that the applicant is able to take on a particular job and has the intention to do so.

All applicants applying under this scheme will require prior entry clearance, except for  non-visa nationals intending to come to the UK for a period of 3 months or less in the “Creative and Sporting” subcategory.

Each Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) subcategory is explained below as an individual category.

Tier 5 Charity Workers Visa (Temporary Workers)

This scheme provides individuals with the opportunity to come to the UK temporarily and take up unpaid voluntary work in relation to the objectives of their sponsor. All activities undertaken in the UK must be temporary, voluntary and involve no remuneration.

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

A. Requirements

The applicant should intend to undertake fieldwork directly in relation to the aims of the sponsor organisation/charity and intend to only work on a temporary basis. No permanent position can be accepted and the applicant will be required to comply with the conditions of their visa and leave the UK upon expiry of the visa.

Employers sponsoring applicants under this category will be required to issue a certificate of sponsorship which guarantees these conditions.

All applicants will need to score a total of 40 points for the above criteria which is detailed in the next section.

B. Points Assessment

Applicants will need to satisfy a points test and maintenance requirement under this scheme. A total score of 40 points is required in order for applicants to successfully submit an application for the Tier 5 (Temporary Workers) scheme.

Points are awarded under the following headings:

(i.) Certificate of Sponsorship – 30 points
To score points under this section, it is mandatory that applicants are in possession of a valid certificate of sponsorship issued by their sponsor.

(ii) Maintenance (Funds) – 10 points
To score points under this section, applicants will need to prove that that they have sufficient funding to support themselves for the duration of their stay in the UK.

The requirement is to demonstrate  the following:

  • At least £945 of personal savings in applicants’ own bank account for at least 3 months prior to the date of the application plus £630 for each dependant; OR
  • An A-rated sponsor guarantees the applicant’s maintenance on the certificate of sponsorship. (Please note that the sponsor is unable to certify maintenance for any accompanying dependants).  

C. Visa Validity and Extension

Applicants successful under Tier 5 Charity Workers Visa will be granted Entry Clearance valid for a maximum period of 12 months; or a shorter period if this is specified in the certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days.

Applicants can only apply for an extension of their visa up to the maximum period of 12 months or if shorter, the time specified in the certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days. 

 D. Switching

Only a sports or entertainer visitor is entitled to apply to switch into the Tier 5 (Temporary worker) Creative and Sporting subcategory, provided they have a valid certificate of sponsorship issued to them before entering the UK.

No applicants from other Tiers of the points-based system are entitled to switch into  Tier 5 (Temporary Worker). In the same way, applicants from Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) cannot switch into other Tiers. The Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) route does not lead to settlement in the UK nor does it offer applicants the opportunity to switch into any other work or study category.

No switching is permitted between the subcategories of Tier 5 (Temporary Worker).

 E. Applying for Entry Clearance

Applicants are required to obtain prior for Entry Clearance under  Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) before entering the UK under this scheme. Applicants can apply for Entry Clearance from their home country or legal country of residence.

F. What other work is allowed under the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) category

In addition, applicants under this category are able to undertake supplementary employment providing the work is in the same sector, and for no more than 20 hours per week. The work must be at the same level as declared on the certificate of sponsorship and must be outside of normal working hours. The applicant is obliged to continue to work for their original sponsor.

The applicant is not permitted to  undertake any other work which fails to satisfy the above criteria.

 G. Change of Employment

Applicants who have previously obtained permission to enter or remain in the UK may be able to apply for a “change of employment”. This is on the basis that the applicant intends to vary their leave in the UK because they have changed employment either within the same organisation or with a new organization in the same industry.

The employment will need to be with a licensed sponsor and the applicant is required to obtain a new certificate of sponsorship and again satisfy the all important maintenance requirement.

It is advised to seek professional legal advice if you wish to change your employment whilst in the UK. 

H. Dependants of Tier 5 Charity Workers Visa

Dependants of those applying to enter as Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) will be able to accompany the main applicant to the UK as long as there is evidence of at least £630 in available funds to maintain each dependant.


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

Administrative Review (Entry Clearance applications)

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 per refusal decision.


Right of Appeal

Applicants who apply under this scheme will only have a limited right of appeal. We therefore advise that applicants seek legal advice on the procedure for appealing.


What services we can offer?

  • We can advise on the procedure of making the Tier 5 (Temporary Workers) application in line with the sponsorship certificate
  • We can assess the job and the applicant`s details and advise on the likelihood of the applicant being sponsored under Tier 5  (Temporary Workers)
  • We can advise and represent our clients in making their leave to remain/entry clearance applications in line with the certificate of sponsorship
  • We can advise and represent our clients’ dependants to seek dependant visas in line with the visa of the main applicant.
  • We can offer a Super Premium Service where the Home Office will visit the applicants in order to process the applications within 24 hours (for further leave to remain only).
  • We can lodge an appeal (in-country only) or make a request for an administrative review if the applicant`s application is refused for some reason
  • We can advise in making applications for indefinite leave to remain for those who have already completed the five years’ qualifying period in the UK
back to top