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The Latest Immigration News on the UK Youth Mobility Scheme

With UK immigration law there is never a quiet month. There is always something new on the horizon; a change in immigration policy, an amendment to the immigration rules or updated immigration case law. This month immigration solicitors say it is the turn of Indian nationals and the Youth Mobility Scheme for the latest immigration news.

UK Online and London Based Immigration Solicitors 

For advice on the Youth Mobility Scheme or any aspect of immigration law call the expert London immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

Youth Mobility Scheme changes

The government announced that a new ‘Appendix Youth Mobility Scheme’ will replace the Appendix T5 (Temporary Worker) Youth Mobility Scheme with effect from the 11 October 2021.

There is a but though. Although the changes to the name of the Appendix took place at 9 am on the 11 October 2021, the big or substantive amendments to the Appendix will not come into force until the 1 January 2022. It is however important to know about the January 2022 changes so you can plan for them.

The major change to the Youth Mobility Scheme is that from the 1 January 2022 Icelandic citizens and Indian nationals will be eligible to apply for UK entry clearance under the Youth Mobility Scheme.

What is the Youth Mobility Scheme?

Immigration solicitors summarise the Youth Mobility Scheme as an entry clearance route or cultural exchange programme for people:

  • Who are aged between eighteen to thirty (this means you must be over the age of eighteen on the date your entry clearance is valid and you must be under the age of thirty on the date of your Youth Mobility Scheme application) and
  • Who want to come to the UK for up to two years and
  • Who are from a participating country.

What are the advantages of the Youth Mobility Scheme?  

The advantage of the Youth Mobility Scheme is that whilst you are in the UK on the Youth Mobility Scheme you can work. Unlike the graduate visa, you don’t need to be in the UK on a student visa to meet the eligibility criteria to apply and you don’t need a degree or qualification from a UK educational institution. Unlike the skilled worker visa, you are not restricted to employment with UK employers who hold a Home Office issued sponsor licence and to jobs that fall within a government issued standard occupation code or jobs that meet a skill criteria or the minimum salary threshold for the skilled worker visa.

Once you are in the UK on the Youth Mobility Scheme, you can apply to switch to the skilled worker visa if you can find a sponsoring employer and you meet the other eligibility criteria for a skilled worker visa. That may be in your long-term best interests as the skilled worker visa route leads to settlement in the UK.

What are the disadvantages of the Youth Mobility Scheme?

Immigration solicitors say there are no real disadvantages to the UK Youth Mobility Scheme but there are some limitations. These are:

  • You can only apply to come to the UK on the Youth Mobility Scheme once.
  • You can only apply to enter the UK on the Youth Mobility Scheme from outside the UK. You can't be here as a tourist or on a visitor visa and make your application from within the UK.
  • Whilst you can work in the UK on the Youth Mobility Scheme there are restrictions on self-employment. However, if you are planning on taking up salaried employment you will not need a sponsoring employer with a sponsor licence to get a job whilst on the Youth Mobility Scheme.
  • Your family can not come with you to the UK on dependant visas. Your family could potentially come with you if they meet the eligibility criteria for the Youth Mobility Scheme or another type of UK visa, such as a work visa, student visa or family visa.
  • You can't apply to extend your time in the UK beyond two years on the Youth Mobility Scheme. However, you may have other immigration and visa options to stay in the UK. It is important to get immigration legal advice before your entry clearance on the Youth Mobility Scheme expires.
  • Time spent in the UK on the Youth Mobility Scheme does not count towards the residence requirement for an indefinite leave to remain application if you are applying under the five-year route. However, time spent in the UK on the Youth Mobility Scheme can count towards a ten-year residence requirement if you are applying for indefinite leave to remain under the ten-year route.
  • You can't access public funds.

Which nationalities can apply for UK entry clearance under the Youth Mobility Scheme? 

Applicants for the Youth Mobility Scheme must be either:

  • A British Overseas citizen*
  • A British Overseas Territories citizen*
  • A person with British National (Overseas) status*
  • A national of Australia
  • A national of Canada
  • A national of Monaco
  • A national of New Zealand
  • A national of San Marino
  • A national of Hong Kong
  • A national of Japan
  • A national of South Korea
  • A national of Taiwan
  • After the 1 January 2022, a national of Iceland or India.

Unless you qualify because of a British status (marked with a *) you will need sponsorship to apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme.

Sponsorship and the Youth Mobility Scheme

Many applicants for the Youth Mobility Scheme require sponsorship. Some countries on the above list have what is referred to as ‘Deemed Sponsorship Status’. This means the countries get a specified number of Youth Mobility Scheme places. The allocation of Youth Mobility Scheme places for 2022 by country is:

Country Places
Australia 30,000
Canada 6,000
Hong Kong 1,000
Japan 1,500
Korea 1,000
Monaco 1,000
New Zealand 13,000
Taiwan 1,000

 

If you are from a country that does not have Deemed Sponsorship Status then you will need to supply evidence of sponsorship with your Youth Mobility Scheme application. The sponsorship must be issued within six months of the application. The total allocation of Youth Mobility Scheme places for 2022 for non-Deemed Sponsorship Status countries is:

Country Places
 Iceland 1,000
 India 3,000
 San Marino 1,000

 

If you are from either Hong Kong, India, Japan, Taiwan, or the Republic of Korea you need to use the Home Office ballot process to secure sponsorship. This involves submitting an expression of interest in applying for the Youth Mobility Scheme. The Home Office then randomly selects who is invited to apply for entry clearance under the Youth Mobility Scheme.

If you are an Indian national applying for the UK Youth Mobility Scheme

If you are an Indian national applying for the UK Youth Mobility Scheme then there are additional Youth Mobility Scheme eligibility criteria requirements. You have to meet either an education or a work experience qualification.

For education, an Indian national applicant must hold a qualification that is equal to or above RQF level 6 ( a degree level qualification). Evidence of the qualification is required. For work experience, an Indian national Youth Mobility Scheme applicant must have a minimum of three years of work experience in a job that is equivalent to a job listed in the UK immigration rules Appendix Skilled Occupations. This appendix lists the eligible jobs for the skilled worker visa and the intra company transfer visa. Evidence of the job is required.

General Youth Mobility Scheme eligibility criteria

In addition to potentially requiring sponsorship (and meeting additional criteria if you are an applicant from India), you also need:

  • To pay the Home Office Youth Mobility Scheme application fee.
  • To pay the immigration health charge.
  • To provide biometric information.
  • Provide evidence of identity and nationality.
  • If required, provide a TB certificate.
  • To not fall foul of the general grounds for refusal of UK entry clearance.
  • To meet the financial requirement, namely have funds of £2,350 for at least twenty-eight days.

Is the Youth Mobility Scheme for you?

Even if the Youth Mobility Scheme is not for you (for example, because you can't bring dependants with you on dependant visas or you want to work in the UK on a self-employed basis) there may be other suitable immigration options for you such as the student visa or family visa or entrepreneur or work visa. An immigration solicitor can look at all your immigration options and work out which one best meets your circumstances and settlement goals.

UK Online and London Based Immigration Solicitors 

For advice on the Youth Mobility Scheme or on any aspect of immigration law call the immigration team at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

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