The Tier 5 (temporary worker or charity worker) visa is a type of visa that allows individuals to come to the UK for up to two years without the need to apply for a work permit.
This visa is specifically designed for individuals who wish to work as unpaid volunteers at charities and avail themselves of various benefits, including housing, healthcare, education, and social security support.
In this article, we will explore the intricacies of Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visas, their eligibility criteria, sponsorship requirements, financial considerations, and more.
Eligibility for Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) Visa
To be eligible for the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa, certain criteria must be met. Firstly, applicants must be between 18 and 65 years old.
Additionally, they need to have a job offer from an approved sponsor and possess sufficient funds to support themselves while in the UK.
It’s important to note that the application for this visa must be made outside the UK, and individuals can only enter the country of their nationality or their country of residence after the application has been submitted.
Furthermore, a valid passport is required for the visa application, which should cover the applicant’s entire period of residence in the UK.
Sponsorship and Charity Registration
In the context of a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa, the sponsor refers to the charity organization where the applicant intends to work.
The sponsor must be registered with the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and will act as the employer during the individual’s stay in the UK.
If an individual holds a Tier 5 visa, the sponsor must demonstrate that they are a qualifying body or trust and apply for registration with UKBA before the individual can commence work.
While it is generally not permissible to change employers without canceling the visa and leaving the country voluntarily, an exception is made if there is no other suitable employment available within the UK that could accommodate individuals holding this visa.
Financial Requirements and Maintenance Funds
Applicants for the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa need to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to support themselves while residing in the UK.
This requirement is commonly referred to as “maintenance” or “funds.” The specific amount of money necessary varies based on individual circumstances, typically ranging from £18,000 to £23,000 per year for single individuals and between £22,000 and £27,000 per year for those with dependent children under 18.
The variation in the required funds ensures that applicants meet their specific needs. It is crucial for applicants to provide evidence of their financial capability to the Department for Work and Pensions to verify their eligibility for the visa.
Visa Processing Time
The duration for the processing of a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa depends on the volume of applications received during a given period. If an individual chooses to apply in person, the process may take up to three weeks.
However, for online applications, the processing time might be longer due to increased demand and other factors, such as the effects of Brexit. It is advisable to consider these factors while planning the application process and allow for ample time to receive the visa.
Cost of Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) Visa
The cost associated with obtaining a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa amounts to £515. This includes the visa application fee, healthcare surcharge, and immigration health surcharge. Payment for the visa can be made online or through postal mail.
To ensure privacy and convenience, it is recommended to pay via bank transfer, which eliminates the need to provide personal details in front of an official at the Home Office. This method ensures immediate crediting of the fee and avoids additional invoicing procedures.
Permitted Activities and Limitations
As Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa holders, individuals are allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week. Additionally, they can work for a maximum of 10 weeks within a 12-month period, including the initial three months of their stay as a Tier 5 migrant worker.
However, the Home Office has the authority to extend this period in cases of “exceptional circumstances,” such as illness or personal situations preventing full-time employment.
It is essential to note that changing employers without permission from the Home Office is not allowed, even for voluntary positions or positions offered by charitable organizations acting on behalf of the charity’s trustees or directors.
Volunteering as a Charity Worker
A significant distinction exists between volunteering and being a charity worker. Unlike volunteers, charity workers can receive payment for their voluntary work.
This means that individuals can earn money while engaged in voluntary activities, and such opportunities are not exclusive to charitable organizations. Voluntary work can be carried out for any company or organization with which an individual has a business relationship.
For instance, providing presentations at conferences or offering software training are instances where individuals can engage in voluntary work while holding a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa.
If an individual wishes to bring their partner and children under the age of 18 to the UK, they must apply for the family stream visa. The application for this visa requires individuals to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to support their dependents on a temporary basis in the UK.
Additionally, certain residential requirements need to be met, such as the property value not exceeding $350,000, proximity to an airport or seaport, and the presence of an accessible swimming pool. These requirements ensure that the applicant’s home meets the immigration rules.
Other Visa Options
Apart from the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa, there are alternative visa options available for individuals falling under the category of Tier 5 (temporary worker – charity worker):
- Tier 1 (Entrepreneur): This visa option is suitable for individuals with business or management experience. To apply for this visa, a minimum investment of £200,000 in the business is required. The application for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa can be submitted online through the official government website.
- Tier 2 (General): This visa option is ideal for self-employed individuals seeking a more accessible path to work in the UK with lower requirements compared to the Tier 5 visa. The minimum income requirement for a Tier 2 (General) visa is £2,400 per year, with additional fees potentially applicable based on the specific job or business model.
In certain situations, the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa may be suitable for overseas volunteers who aspire to become unpaid workers for charities in the UK.
This option is also open to UK citizens or British Overseas Territories citizens who have acquired indefinite leave to remain in the UK and intend to work for a charity abroad.
Additionally, individuals who are EU nationals and have yet to apply for settlement may consider this visa option.
The eligibility criteria for these circumstances include being 18 years or older, holding citizenship of another country for at least one year preceding the application date, and intending to permanently settle in the UK after the period of work abroad.
The Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa provides an avenue for individuals to engage in unpaid volunteer work for charities in the UK. This visa category has simple requirements, such as a job offer from an approved sponsor and sufficient funds to support oneself while in the UK.
By obtaining this visa, individuals can contribute to charitable causes while benefiting from the various support systems available in the country.
It is essential to understand the specific rules and limitations associated with this visa to ensure compliance and maximize the opportunities it provides.
1. Can I change employers while holding a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa?
No, changing employers without permission from the Home Office is generally not allowed under this visa category. However, exceptions may be made if no suitable employment is available within the UK.
2. Is it possible to earn money while engaging in voluntary work with a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa?
Yes, unlike regular volunteers, charity workers can receive payment for their voluntary work. They can earn money while participating in voluntary activities for charitable organizations or other companies they have a business relationship.
3. What are the financial requirements for the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa?
The financial requirements vary based on individual circumstances. Generally, applicants need to demonstrate they have enough funds to support themselves in the UK. The specific amount typically ranges between £18,000 and £23,000 per year for single individuals and £22,000 and £27,000 per year for those with dependent children under 18.
4. Can I bring my partner and children to the UK under the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa?
To bring your partner and children under 18 to the UK, you need to apply for a family stream visa. This requires demonstrating that you have sufficient funds to support your dependents on a temporary basis in the UK.
5. Are there alternative visa options for Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa holders?
Yes, alternative visa options include the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, which is suitable for individuals with business or management experience, and the Tier 2 (General) visa, which offers a more accessible path to work in the UK for self-employed individuals with lower requirements compared to the Tier 5 visa.