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Government Authorised Exchange | Temporary Work Visa

You can apply for a Tier 5 Temporary Worker - Government Authorised Exchange visa if you:

  • want to come to the UK for a short time for work experience or to do training, an Overseas Government Language Programme, research or a fellowship through an approved government authorised exchange scheme;

  • have a sponsor;

  • are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland;

  • meet the other eligibility requirements.

To find out whether you can come to the UK under any of the categories below, call ICS Legal on 0207 237 3388 or e-mail us your details on info@icslegal.com. ICS Legal helps a number of migrants by setting up their migration program in the UK. Complete our visa assessment form, by clicking here

Sponsorship
You must get sponsored - ie have a certificate of sponsorship from a licensed sponsor - before you can apply to come to the UK to work. Your work, training or research in the UK must relate to the work of your sponsor organisation. Your sponsor can be any of the following:

  • an organisation running an approved exchange scheme;

  • a higher education institution (if you are a sponsored researcher, visiting academic or examiner);

  • a government department or agency.

How long it will take
You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks. You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to the UK. Check the guide processing times to find out how long getting a visa might take in your country.

How long you can stay
You can stay in the UK for up to 12 or 24 months (depending on the scheme you’re applying for) or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 28 days, whichever is shorter. You can enter the UK up to 14 days before the start date of your job. 

What you can and can’t do
You can:

  • study (for some courses you’ll need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate);

  • work in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship;

  • do a second job for up to 20 hours per week;

  • do a job on the Tier 2 shortage occupation list for up to 20 hours per week as well as your main job;

  • apply to change (‘switch’) into a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa if you’re in the government authorised exchange scheme for sponsored researchers;

  • bring family members with you.

You can’t:

  • take a permanent job;

  • get public funds.

Certificate of sponsorship
A certificate of sponsorship is a reference number which holds information about the job and your personal details. It’s not an actual certificate or paper document. Your sponsor will give you your certificate of sponsorship reference number. They must also give you some other information to help you to apply, eg your working hours.

You’ll need to add your certificate of sponsorship reference number to your application form - you can only use it once. You must apply for your visa within 3 months of receiving your certificate of sponsorship.

Extend your visa
You can apply to extend your Tier 5 (Temporary worker - Government Authorised Exchange) visa. You should include any dependents who are on your current visa on your application to extend - including children who have turned 18 during your stay. You should apply before your current visa expires.

Eligibility
You might be able to extend your stay. You must still meet the eligibility requirements. You must apply while you’re still in the UK.

How long you can stay
You can apply to stay in the UK for up to a maximum of:

  • 12 months, if you’re doing work experience;

  • 24 months, if you’re doing research, training or an Overseas Government Language Programme.

You can also stay for the length of time on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is shorter.

How long it takes
A decision will be made:

  • within 8 weeks for postal applications;

  • usually on the same day if you use the premium service

You’ll be contacted if your application is complex and will take longer, for example, because:

  • if your supporting documents need to be verified;

  • if you need to attend an interview because of your personal circumstances, eg if you have a criminal conviction.

Once you’ve applied you can stay in the UK until you’ve been given a decision, as long as you applied before your last visa expired.

Changing your sponsor
You must apply again and meet all the eligibility rules if you want to change your sponsor within the same organisation or move to a new organisation.

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