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Charity Worker Visa

A Charity Worker Visa can be obtained for unpaid voluntary work in the UK. You can apply for this via up to 3 months before you are due to start work in the UK.

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    The Charity Worker Visa

    The Charity Worker Visa (also known as a Temporary Worker Visa) allows young overseas nationals to experience life and culture in the UK and also permits workers to undertake short term or temporary employment in the UK.

    It consists of two main categories: the Youth Mobility Scheme and the Temporary Worker.

    Almost every activity carried out within the United Kingdom is temporary unpaid voluntary work and is not subject to any compensation.

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    To be eligible for the Charity Worker Visa, you must:

    • Be at least 18 or over
    • Have a UK sponsor
    • Be in a stable financial position (for instance, it is recommended you have at least £1,270 available to you).


    Documents that you must provide

    • Your certificate of sponsorship number
    • A valid passport or recognised form of identity (you will need a blank page in your passport for your visa).
    • Evidence of your stable finances, for example a bank statement
    • Proof of a relationship with anyone who is coming with you (partner or children)
    • A TB test result if you are staying for more than 6 months in the UK or are from any of these countries.

    Any documents required for your application should be translated into English or Welsh.

    Wherever this is not possible you should try to seek a solicitor who can give you a certified translation.

    You will need a valid certificate of sponsorship from a sponsor organisation as part of your eligibility criteria.

    A reference number on a certificate of sponsorship is needed to complete your Visa application as it will hold information about you and the type of voluntary job you are applying for. It can only be obtained from your sponsor.

    Your sponsor must be from a recognised charity in the UK, and be allowed by the UK government to allocate certificates of sponsorship.

    Your sponsor must be open with you about the hours and job details they are offering to you.

    Your certificate of sponsorship is valid for 3 weeks after it has been given to you.

    Your sponsor will also be required to register for charity work. The certification must confirm your intention to take on voluntary jobs.

    Stable finances

    You must have enough money to support yourself, it is recommended that you have at least £1,270.

    You must have had this money in your bank account for 28 days, which must be within the time you applied for your Charity Worker Visa.

    Day 28 must be within 31 days of applying for your Visa.

    You must provide evidence of your finances, unless your employer is maintaining or accommodating you for a period from at least £1760 until you end your first month abroad.

    If you have dependents you may also need proof of their support. There is a cost for your spouse of £285 to £315 for one child.

    How much it costs to apply

    You, your partner or children will each need to pay:

    • The application fee (for each person applying is £259).
    • The healthcare surcharge, which is usually £624 per year
    • Prove you have enough personal savings

    Application approval timescale

    It can take up to 8 weeks for a decision to be made on your application. You may be able to pay a fee to fast track it which would ensure a decision is made in 24 hours.

    You will be contacted if there is an issue with your application, or if it is a more complex situation such as:

    • An error with verifying your supporting documents
    • You are required to attend an interview
    • If you have past criminal convictions

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    Conditions of your stay as a Charity Worker

    If you apply to apply for a temporary worker visa for a charity you can apply to remain in England or Europe for up to six months and you may stay for up to 365 days in the UK.

    You must arrive in Britain within 14 days of your appointment deadline. You may only perform the position in which they sponsor you, although you may volunteer with other organisations as well.

    Depending upon your chosen course, it is possible to apply for a certificate in a technical acquiescence.

    The minimum amount of work required for a temporary work visa if you apply for an extended work permit is £500.

    No permanent job position is allowed and applicants must return home with their dependants once the Visa expires.

    There are certain rules you must adhere to.

    You are allowed to:

    • Study
    • Work for your sponsor in the job described as in your certificate of sponsorship
    • Be employed at a second job in the same charity sector at the same level as your main job for up to 20 hours per week
    • Apply for a job on the skilled worker shortage occupation list for up to 20 hours per week.

    You are not allowed to:

    • Receive any payment for work as it is charity based
    • Take up a permanent job in the UK
    • Receive public funding

    If you choose to extend your visa, you must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until you get a decision to stay in compliance with UK immigration law. Your application will be withdrawn if you do not follow immigration rules.

    Charity Worker permitted voluntary work

    Work you plan to do must meet three criteria for a qualifying temporary worker charitable work visa.

    This work must primarily involve voluntary field work which is directly beneficial to a charity.

    It covers work that could never be offered for a salary. There are no supporting activities like administrative, retail or fundraising.

    Secondly, work is neither rewarded nor paid except for a reasonable expense to fulfil your duty.

    Finally, you cannot fill the employment (even temporarily) required permanently.

    Change of employment

    Applicants seeking re-entry to the UK will have to apply to change employment based on their previous immigration status.

    It follows that the applicants intend to extend their working time in the UK if they have moved to another organisation.

    Applicants must be sponsored by licensed employers, a new certificate must be obtained and must also meet a maintenance requirement.

    It is advised to get a qualified lawyer to change employment while you are in the United Kingdom.

    Our friendly Immigration lawyers can assist you with your change of employment under the T5 UK Charity Worker Visa.

    Eligible family under the visa

    Temporary workers are able to bring certain family members with them to the UK. The family members that can join you on y our Temporary Worker Charity Visa include:

    • Spouses, civil partners and unmarried partners
    • Children under the age of 18
    • Children over the age of 18 if they are already living in the UK as your dependent

    Any dependent relatives joining you in the UK must make a separate visa application and they can apply to join you online.

    To be eligible they will need to be able to prove their relationship with you and must also show that they have enough money to be financially supported whilst in the UK. You will need to show that there is at least:

    • £285 for your partner
    • £315 for one child
    • £200 for each additional child

    What if my application is rejected?

    Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within:

    • 3 weeks, if you’re outside the UK
    • 8 weeks, if you’re inside the UK

    If an applicant is denied by the points system a review can be made at no charge.

    If an administrative review is necessary the individual will be given a notice stating the reasons and conditions for the refusal.

    In addition, the requester has a non-exclusive right not to submit additional information to the review. Then, the applicant can also request an additional review for each rejection.

    If a temporary worker visa application is denied, you can apply for a new application. You can ask one of our immigration lawyers for assistance with this.

    Extending my Visa

    As a temporary worker, if you wish to extend your visa you can apply as long as you continue to meet the eligibility rules.

    You must apply before your current visa expires, and you must be in the UK to do so.

    Your dependents such as your spouse or children that have come with you also need to apply to extend separately if they wish to.

    UK Tier 2 Visa Extension

    How Our Immigration lawyers can help you

    Obtaining visas can be a long process, which can also have uncertain results. Our Immigration team is qualified and ready to help you with visa applications or walking you through the process.

    Navigating visa routes or application forms can be tricky, especially if you speak a different language.

    We have friendly, experienced lawyers waiting to help you with you and your families immigration case today.

    Our list of assistance includes but is not limited to:

    • Provide a Letter of Representation
    • Assist you in completing your application to the best it can be, including fixing errors and proofreading
    • Conduct a thorough document check to make sure everything is included in your application
    • Walk you through eligibility for multiple visas that best suit your needs
    • Help you prepare for both the Life in the UK test and your English language examination
    • Liaise with the Home Office on your behalf throughout the entire process

    Call us today on 03334149244 or fill out the contact form on our website.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    You can stay up to twelve months in the same place if you have an official sponsorship letter or longer. You may enter the UK for work as soon as 14 days in a week.

    T4 students can volunteer while they are studying but must be careful as voluntary work is distinct from volunteering.

    Hours undertaking voluntary work (not volunteering) must be counted in your weekly permitted working hour allowance (according to your Tier 4 conditions.

    Voluntary work is considered unpaid employment and is therefore restricted on a student visa, along with any other paid work, to 20 hours a week during term-time.

    Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to receive assistance on your High Potential Individual case. Contact Us

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