Temporary Work - International Agreement (formerly known as TIER 5 International Agreement)

Temporary Workers 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 and consists of two main categories: the Youth Mobility Scheme and the Temporary Worker which consists of six sub-categories, set out below:

Temporary Workers – International Agreement

This scheme is for individuals who are coming to the UK to provide a service in the UK on a contractual agreement which is covered under International Law. This includes the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) or other international agreements, employees of overseas governments and international organisations as well as:

  • private servants in diplomatic households
  • employees of an overseas government or international organisation
  • contractual service suppliers
  • independent professionals supplying services

These last two categories basically refer to people who are based abroad but are coming to the UK for a short to medium term professional services assignment with a British company.

These services range from auditing to midwifery, but whether someone from a given country can use this route to provide a given service depends on whether there is a services treaty in place between the UK and that country. Annex IAW1 of the guidance on sponsoring an International Agreement Worker contains tables showing the treaties available and what services they cover.

The permissible length of stay shall be for a cumulative period of 12 months, or for the duration of the contract, whichever is less.

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

A. Requirements

(i) General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)
The applicant will be required to work for a sponsor of a country that is a member of the World Trade Organisation (WHO) and have signed up to the agreement; or has a bilateral agreement with the UK. The applicant will need to be engaged in employment which satisfies the terms and conditions of the specified international agreement and finally, (where relevant) works for the employer that was awarded the contract or will provide services to the UK client.

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

(ii) Employees of Overseas Governments and International Organisations
The applicant will be required to be under a contract of employment with the overseas government or international organisation. The applicant cannot be employed in any other employment for its sponsor other than that specified in the certificate of sponsorship and should not intend to change to a different category of worker within the international agreements scheme subsequent to entering the UK.

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

(iii) Private Servants in Diplomatic Households
[Applicants should note that this category is not the same category as ‘private servants in domestic households’. This latter category will currently remain outside the new points-based system].

The applicant is required to be 18 years of age or above with the intention to work full- time as a domestic worker. They will need to be employed and serve as a private servant in the household of a staff member of a diplomatic/consular post; or an official employed by an international organisation. The applicant can only work for their sponsor in this capacity.

Applicants can apply to extend their stay in the UK and will be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain after having completed 5 years in the UK.

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 all 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 Tiemporary 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 £1,270 of personal savings in applicant’s  own bank account for at least 3 months prior to the date of the application plus plus £285 for spouse (partner) dependant plus £315 for first dependant child and £200 for any other dependent child; 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 the International Agreement category will be granted entry clearance valid for a maximum period of 2 years, or for the period of engagement plus 14 days if this is shorter. Unless they are an overseas government employee or a private servant in a diplomatic household in which case entry clearance will be granted for maximum  period of 6 years.

D. Switching

No applicants of the points based system are entitled to switch into the Temporary Worker. In the same way, applicants from Temporary Worker cannot switch into other visa. The Temporary Worker route does not lead to settlement in the UK or offer applicants the opportunity to switch into any other work or study category.

No switching is permitted between the subcategories of Temporary Worker.

E. Applying for Entry Clearance

Applicants are required to obtain prior for Entry Clearance under the 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 International Agreement

Applicants under this category are able to work on short term contracts; or participate in/ perform at specific engagements relevant to their role and specified in their certificate of sponsorship.

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 work in any other employment 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 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 sector.

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 International Agreement

Dependants of those applying to enter as International Agreement migrants 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.

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 request 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 a Temporary Workers application in line with the sponsorship certificate
  • We can assess the job and the applicant’s credentials and advise on the likelihood of getting the applicant sponsored under International Agreement
  • We can advise the applicant on making their leave to remain / entry clearance applications in line with the sponsorship certificate
  • We can advise the applicant on the procedure involved for including family on dependant visas
  • We can advise the applicants on the evidence required for the entry clearance application
  • We can make a request for an administrative review should the application be unsuccessful 

Still have questions?

Contact us