Temporary Work - Religious Workers (formerly known as TIER 5 Religious Workers)

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 – Religious Worker Visa

This scheme provides individuals with the opportunity to come to the UK temporarily to work as religious workers in a non-pastoral role or as visiting religious workers who are employed abroad in the same capacity. Activities under this scheme may include preaching, performing religious rites, reading to congregations of faith, some pastoral work and non-pastoral duties.

A. Requirements

The applicant should be qualified in their role or for the job they wish to undertake in the UK. The applicant must intend to take employment for the sponsor only as a visiting religious worker or as a religious worker in a non-pastoral role and will be required to work only at a specified location. They will also be expected to comply with all the conditions of their visa and should leave the UK upon expiry of their visa.

Employers sponsoring applicants under this category will be required to (a) issue a certificate of sponsorship which guarantees these conditions and (b) additionally provide an undertaking that they will accept the responsibilities of sponsorship for the applicant, support the applicant through funds and/or accommodation (where applicable), and (c) declare that the applicant will not be denying employment in this role for a suitably qualified member of the resident labour force.

All applicants will need to score a total of 40 points for the above criteria as 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 Temporary Workers scheme.

Points are awarded under the following heads:

(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 they have sufficient funding to support themselves for the duration of their stay in the UK.

The requirement is to demonstrate either/or the following:

  • At least £1,270 of personal savings in applicants’ own bank account for at least 3 months prior to the date of the application 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 Religious Workers will be granted Entry Clearance valid for a maximum period of 24 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 24 months or if shorter, the time specified in the certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days,

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 Religious Worker before entering the UK under this scheme. Applicants can apply for Entry Clearance in  their home country or legal country of residence.

F. What other work is allowed under Religious Workers 

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 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 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 within 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.

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

H. Dependants of Religious Workers Visa 

Dependant of those applying to enter as Religious Workers 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.

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 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 the Religious 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 Religious 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 lodge an appeal (in-country only) or make a request for an administrative review if the applicant's application is refused for some reason

Still have questions?

Contact us