• Employment
  • May 12, 2022

What is a Temporary Work Visa?


A Temporary Work Visa, formally known as a Tier 5 Visa allows foreign nationals to live, work, or study in the UK for a short time, between 6 and 24 months. 

For example, citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Monaco, Iceland, and San Marino plus some other nationalities who are aged between 18-30 years can live and work in the UK for up to two years on a Youth Mobility Scheme visa.

In this article, we explain the different categories of the Temporary Work Visa and the eligibility requirements so that if you are running a business and need temporary migrant workers, you understand the rules and eligibility conditions.

What are the different types of Temporary Work Visa?

There are several types of Temporary Work Visa, including:

  • Charity Worker visa
  • Creative Worker visa
  • Government Authorised Exchange visa
  • International Agreement visa
  • Religious Worker visa
  • Seasonal Worker visa
  • Youth Mobility Scheme visa
  • Graduate visa

Each of these visas has its own eligibility criteria.

What are the eligibility criteria for the different types of Temporary Work Visas?

There are certain eligibility requirements for all Temporary Work Visas, including:

  • The applicant must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from a UK sponsor (unless they are applying for a Youth Mobility Scheme visa or the Graduate visa)
  • The applicant must have sufficient savings to support themselves while in the UK –normally at least £1,270 is available in their bank account upon application. Some Temporary Work Visas do not require the migrant to have any savings.
  • The applicant must be 18 or over when they apply for the visa.

Either you or the applicant will need to check the specific requirements for the particular Temporary Work Visa as the applicant will need to prove these in addition to the general requirements. 

For example, if you wish to employ seasonal workers they will need to be working in ‘edible horticulture’ for the six month duration of their visa. Employing someone under the Creative Worker visa will require the applicant to show they are making a unique contribution to the UK labour market and that you, as the employer, are paying the minimum salary as set by Equity, PACT or BECTU.

How long does it take to get a Temporary Work Visa?

If the applicant is applying from outside the UK the application process normally takes around eight weeks. Applying within the UK shortens the process to around three weeks.

Can a Temporary Work Visa applicant bring a family member  to the UK?

It depends on which category the applicant is applying under. Some Temporary Work Visas such as the International Agreement visa and the Religious Worker visa allow applicants to bring their dependents (defined as a spouse or partner and children aged under 18 years). Others, for example, the Seasonal Worker visa, do not.

Can the applicant switch to another visa to extend their stay in the UK?

The applicant may be able to switch to another visa route such as the Skilled Worker Visa or a family visa. They must, however, meet all the eligibility requirements of the new visa route.

Get legal assistance from LawBite

The Temporary Work Visa provides several routes to enable employers to bring overseas talent into the country to work without having to make a long term commitment. For example, if you require an actor for a film, TV, or theatre production, they may be able to enter the country on a Creative Worker visa.

As an employer, you will need to comply with all the Home Office rules and regulations if the category of Temporary Worker Visa requires you to have a Sponsor Licence. Our Solicitors can assist you with applying for the licence and ongoing compliance. We are also able to answer any questions you or the migrant worker may have regarding a Right to Work check. To book a free 15 minute consultation with one of our lawyers, just click ‘Get started’ below.


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Additional resources

In closing

Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice on which you should rely. The article is provided for general information purposes only. Professional legal advice should always be sought before taking any action relating to or relying on the content of this article. Our Platform Terms of Use apply to this article.

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