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Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme - What Next?

The Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme allows sponsored young people from participating countries and territories to live in the UK on a temporary basis. The Scheme allows for such migrants to work in any kind of role (except as a professional sportsperson, doctor or dentist in training) during their stay in the UK.

The maximum grant of leave under the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme is 2 years.  Therefore, a lot of Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme migrants find themselves wondering what their options are in terms of staying on in the UK at the end of their visa.  In this post we look at some of the more popular options for Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme migrants once they reach the end of their 2 year stay.

Some Options for Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme Migrants To Extend Their Stay In The UK

Tier 2 (General) Skilled Worker Route

The Tier 2 (General) category allows businesses to employ a migrant where no-one within the settled workforce in the UK can fulfil the role required, providing that it is a skilled role.

Tier 2 may be the most natural next step for a migrant who has been in the UK working as a Tier 5 migrant under the Youth Mobility Scheme. However, if an applicant wishes to switch to become a Tier 2 (General) migrant, they cannot apply from within the UK.

In order to apply for leave as a Tier 2 migrant, you will need an offer of employment before making the application. The business offering you the job will also need a sponsor licence, or will need to apply for one.

The job you have an offer for needs to be at least graduate-level, or a specified creative profession, and it must be listed on the Home Office’s list of skilled occupations. Your salary must be at least £30,000 (£20,800 for some applicants) per annum or the minimum salary for the exact job you have been offered, whichever is higher.

The job offer must also be for a genuine vacancy and you must be appropriately qualified to do the job. The business will need to demonstrate that it has conducted a Resident Labour Market Test in most cases.

Further information on the requirements for leave as a Tier 2 (General) migrant is available here.   

Start-up / Innovator Routes

The Start-up category is for new entrepreneurs who want to establish a business in the UK for the first time. The business must be innovative, viable and scalable and it must be approved by an endorsing body. You must spend the majority of your working time on the business venture and be genuinely intending to undertake, and capable of undertaking, the work or business activity. There are further requirements for obtaining leave under this route, which are set out here.

Although it is possible to make an application for leave to remain under this category from within the UK, it is not possible to switch into this route in the UK as a Tier 5 migrant.  Just as with an application for leave as a Tier 2 (General) migrant, you will need to return to your country of origin to submit the application.

Leave in the Start-up category is granted for a period of 2 years and it is not possible to extend your leave to stay longer in this category.  You may, however, be eligible to apply to extend your stay as an Innovator at this stage.

If you are already an experienced business person, you may want to apply for leave as an Innovator straight away.  As with the Start-up route, you will need to have a business idea that is innovative, viable and scalable. You will also need to invest, or have invested, £50,000 in this business venture. Unlike the Start-up category, you must spend your entire working time in the UK on developing this business idea. Further information on the requirements for the Innovator category can be found here.

Innovators are granted periods of leave for three years. Unlike the Start-up category, there is no limit to the length of time you can remain in this category. Applications for indefinite leave to remain (“ILR”) can be made having completed 3 years in this category, however, if you do not meet the requirements for ILR, you can apply to extend your stay within this category providing that the endorsing body is willing to continue its endorsement.

It should be noted that these are new categories and applicants may experience a number of difficulties obtaining endorsement.

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent / Promise) Routes

If you are, or have the potential to be, an internationally-recognised world leader in your field, then leave as a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) or (Promise) may be the appropriate step for you.

Just as with the Start-up and Innovator routes, you will need to obtain an endorsement from an appropriate endorsing body. You can be endorsed in the fields of science, humanities, engineering, the arts or digital technology. There is a limit on how many applications can be endorsed each year, but this is split between the different endorsing bodies and the limit has not been reached to date.

Each endorsing body has its own set of criteria, but in each case you will need a substantial body of work and support from experts in your field. Once you have been endorsed, you will then be able to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) or (Exceptional Promise) visa.

With this visa, you will have the full right to work and you may be eligible to settle after three (Exceptional Talent) or five (Exceptional Promise) years.

You can switch to a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)  or (Exceptional Promise) visa from within the UK, but only if you have leave as a Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 5 (Temporary worker – Government Authorised Exchange) migrant. Therefore, you cannot switch into this category from the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme.

For more information on this type of visa, click here.

Contact our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice and assistance in planning your next steps following the expiry of your leave under the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme, contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via our enquiry form.


To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.

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