As a charity worker, you can come to the UK to undertake unpaid voluntary work usually on the field, which supports your sponsor’s charitable organisation in the UK. Your sponsor is not likely to pay you a standard wage however may provide some expenses as part of this unpaid voluntary charity work that you undertake. They may also offer accommodation for you whilst you come in as a charity worker in the UK.
Your sponsor cannot ask you to fulfil back office work, or sales or any fund-raising roles which includes supporting its operation or its assets that they own. As a charity worker, they cannot temporarily fill a position within the organisation. You must ensure that you abide by the conditions of the visa to prevent being removed from the UK. Breach of conditions are a serious offence and can lead to removal from the UK as well as a ban up to 10 years.
By sponsoring you on this charity worker visa, under the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), your sponsor will have confirmed that you will undertake only voluntary fieldwork as specified by the immigration rules and will not receive a salary payment for the work being undertaken as a charity worker.
Your employer will also be confirming that they will not be filling a permanent role in the charity organisation even if this is for temporary basis. As a charity worker, you must comply with the conditions of the visa and leave the UK prior to the visa is to expire.
How to apply for the charity worker visa
You will need to make the visa application from outside of the UK as a charity worker. The visa does not allow those who have previous held a visa to apply under this category unless 12 months have passed. You cannot switch into the visa from the UK and will be required to apply for the charity worker visa from outside of the UK.
How long is the charity worker visa valid for?
The immigration rules specifies the period of grant given as a charity worker in the UK. Usually you will be granted for a period of 12 months plus 28 days or the time given in the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).
The maximum period as specified under the immigration rules is 12 months. You will not be able to remain in the UK longer than this period.
Frequently asked questions about the charity worker visa
You will find some useful information below regarding the charity worker visa and its process.
How to lodge an application for a charity worker visa
The visa application as a charity worker cannot be applied from the UK. You must leave the UK and apply from your country of residency. Your sponsor will provide details of your electronic work permit for the visa and will need to be issued prior any charity worker visa is applied for.
How long does a charity worker visa take to be decided by the Home Office
A charity worker visa is granted within 15 working days. Delays can happen but will depend on the case working levels at the decision making post.
If a charity worker is refused, can the decision be appealed?
An application that is refused under the charity worker visa cannot be appealed against however you can lodge a request for a review of the decision. You must set out the case working errors.
Taking legal advice on the charity work visa
We at ICS Legal will provide guidance and correct advice on how to apply under the charity worker visa and we find this is essential when considering working in the UK. You can speak to one of our UK Immigration Lawyers on 0207 237 3388 or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.