SEASONAL WORKER (T5) VISA
The Seasonal Worker (T5) visa is for adults who wish to come to the UK to do specified farm work for a maximum of 6 months over a 12 month period.
The Seasonal Worker visa is not a route to settlement and applicants cannot be joined by dependent partners and children.
Requirements for a Seasonal Worker (T5) Visa
In order to qualify for a Seasonal Worker (T5) visa, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:
- You are aged 18 or over on the date of the application;
- You will be working in an eligible farm role, which falls within the list of ‘edible horticulture’;
- You have a valid ‘Certificate of Sponsorship’ from your employer with information about the role you have been offered;
- You have paid the visa application fee and Immigration Health Charge and provided any required biometric information;
- You do not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal.
The exact requirements you will need to satisfy will vary depending on your circumstances. You may want to speak to an immigration lawyer for expert advice.
Seasonal Worker Visa Eligible Farm Roles
In order to qualify for a Seasonal Worker visa, your proposed role must be an eligible farm role, which falls within the ‘edible horticulture’ sector.
This means that, in order to meet the requirements for a Seasonal Worker visa, the type of produce being farmed must be:
- Protected Vegetables – grown in glasshouse systems; or
- Field Vegetables – grown outdoors, including vegetables, herbs, leafy salads and potatoes; or
- Soft Fruit – grown both outdoors or under cover e.g. in glasshouses or a polytunnel. This includes strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, blueberries and all rabes and rubus species; or
- Top Fruit (Orchard Fruit) – trees that bear fruit e.g. apples, plums, cherries, apricots; or
- Vine and Bines – both twining or climbing flexible stems of certain plants, e.g. hops, grapes; or
- Mushrooms – typically covers Agaricus bisporus species but can also include more exotic species (typically grown indoors).
Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) Requirement
In order to obtain a Seasonal Worker visa you must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship for the role you are planning to do. This is recorded electronically.
Your Certificate of Sponsorship must have been issued by a specific employer who has been authorised by the Home Office. As the Seasonal Worker visa is currently a pilot scheme, there are only two ‘operators’ who can issue a Certificate of Sponsorship: Concordia (UK) Ltd and Pro-Force Limited. This will be widened to include two more ‘operators’ later in 2021.
Your Certificate of Sponsorship must have been issued not more than 3 months before the date of your Seasonal Worker visa application.
Your Certificate of Sponsorship must include certain mandatory information, including:
- Details of your name, job and salary;
- A start date which is no more than 3 months after the date your Seasonal Worker visa application;
- Confirmation that the Certificate of Sponsorship has not been used in a previous application which was either granted or refused and has not been withdrawn by the sponsor or cancelled by the Home Office;
- Confirmation that the position complies with relevant legislation such as the National Minimum Wage Act 1998, and the Working Time Regulations.
It is possible for your Sponsor to grant you a multiple entry Certificate of Sponsorship which will allow you to leave and return to the UK.
Seasonal Worker Visa Financial Requirement
Subject to the exemption below, you will need to have cash funds of at least £1,270 available to show that you can support yourself in the UK.
You will need to have held the money for at least 28 consecutive days ending not more than 31 days before the date of your Seasonal Worker visa application.
You will be exempt if your employer can cover your costs during your first month in the UK to an amount of at least £1,270, if necessary. Your sponsor will need to confirm this on your Certificate of Sponsorship.
Seasonal Worker Visa Application Process
Applications for Seasonal Worker (T5) visas must be submitted from outside of the UK.
The earliest you can apply for a Seasonal Worker visa is 3 months before the date on which you are due to start work. This can be found on your Certificate of Sponsorship.
You should receive a decision on your Seasonal Worker (T5) visa application within 3 weeks.
Seasonal Worker Visa Application Fees and Fee Reduction
The Home Office application fee for a Seasonal Worker visa application is currently £244.
This fee will be automatically reduced by £55 if you are a national of:
Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden or Turkey.
Conditions of stay as a Seasonal Worker
If your application for a Tier 5 Seasonal Worker visa is successful, you will be granted permission to enter and remain in the UK for up to 6 months in any 12 month period, or for the 14 days before and after the duration of your role (as stated on your Certificate of Sponsorship), whichever is shorter.
You will be permitted to enter the UK up to 14 days before the start date of your job.
Whilst in the UK as a Seasonal Worker, you will be permitted to work in the job you have been sponsored for. You will be permitted to study (for some courses you’ll need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate).
You will not be allowed to accept a permanent job, work in a second job or work in a job that has not been described in your Certificate of Sponsorship. You will also not be entitled to public funds.
Switching into the Seasonal Worker Visa Route
It is not possible to switch into the Tier 5 Seasonal Worker route or between other T5 (Temporary Worker) routes.
Seasonal Worker Visa Refusals
If your application for a Seasonal Worker (T5) visa is refused, you may be able to apply for Administrative Review.
How Our Immigration Barristers Can Help
Our team of business immigration barristers has experience in assisting employers and skilled workers across a variety of industries in companies of all sizes. Our barristers can help you with planning to ensure that you meet your start date and ensure that your career progression will fit your immigration goals.
We pride ourselves on being approachable and proactive in understanding and meeting our clients’ needs. We are a highly driven team, dedicated to providing clear and reliable immigration advice to skilled workers as part of a professional and friendly service.
We can also assist with
Applications to enter the UK under alternative immigration routes
The UK offers a range of personal and business immigration routes. Details of all the main immigration routes are available on our website. However, some of the most popular routes are as follows:
The Tier 1 Investor visa category is for non-EEA nationals who are able to make a substantial investment in the UK. You will need to have access to £2 million and be willing to invest your funds in UK government bonds or actively trading UK companies.
The Skilled Worker visa is open to individuals of all nationalities (except British and Irish) who have an offer of an eligible skilled job in the UK from a Home Office-approved sponsor.
The Start-up visa is for individuals who are new entrepreneurs and want to establish a business in the UK for the first time.
The Innovator visa category is for individuals who are experienced businesspersons seeking to establish a business in the UK.
The Student visa category is for individuals who are aged 16 or over and who wish to study on a further or higher education course in the UK.
The Graduate visa route will allow international students who have completed a UK degree to stay in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies.
Fresh applications, Administrative Reviews and Judicial Review for Tier 5 Seasonal Worker migrants
If your application for entry clearance or as a Tier 5 Seasonal Worker migrant has been refused, our immigration barristers can advise on the merits of making a fresh application or challenging the decision.
If the decision-maker failed to apply the Immigration Rules or Home Office policy correctly, we can bring Administrative Review proceedings to challenge the decision.
If the decision to refuse your application was unlawful, unreasonable or procedurally improper, our immigration barristers can apply for Judicial Review and provide representation at Judicial Review hearings.