Going Mobile

The UK’s Youth Mobility Visa offers a useful way of exploring the world of work for those at the beginning of their careers.

The issue of global mobility is an emerging theme across the world, as the supply and demand for talent is an ever-changing dynamic. In the UK, how and when people can move, work and settle has become increasingly complex as new rules – and exceptions – emerge.

However, there has recently been some welcome clarity around one of the main work visa regimes – the Youth Mobility Visa. The YM Visa allows young people to come over to the UK to study, or work in certain jobs. It also allows those eligible to be self-employed and set up a company.

Depending on where you are, the Visa is open to those between 18 to 30 or 18 to 35,” says Jordan Business Visa & Immigration Advisor at Paul Beare Ltd. “So, if you’re between 18 to 35 and from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or South Korea then you’re eligible; and if you’re from Andorra, Iceland, Japan, Monaco, San Marino and Uruguay then you can apply between the ages of 18-30.

Under the terms of the YM Visa, successful applicants are granted a series of privileges aimed to make it easier to find employment as well as set up a business. In summary, the Visa allows you to:

  • Live in the UK for up to 2 years
  • Leave and re-enter the UK at any time during your stay
  • Work (there are few restrictions on the types of work you can undertake on this visa)
  • Study
  • Be self-employed and establish a company in the UK (the rules state that you cannot have employees, your premises must be rented, and you cannot have equipment worth more than £5,000).

Helpfully, the eligibility criteria and compliance regime around the YM Visa is fairly simple, Walker explains. “You can apply six months before you travel and, as with most visas, they will take around three weeks to process. You also have to pay an application fee of £298, as well as an immigration health surcharge of £776 per year.”

However, while it is a relatively simple process, Walker points out that the UK Home Office is proactive and rigorous when assessing applications from abroad. “Part of one of the eligibility requirements is that you have to show documentation,” says Jordan. “One of the documents that you will need is proof that you have had enough personal savings to support yourself, which they’ve set at £2,530, which has to be in your account for at least 28 days in a row before you apply for your visa.”

In addition to that, authorities will also ask for:

  • your current passport as proof of your identity and nationality (your passport must have at least one blank page)
  • a bank statement – this must show you have a minimum of £2,530 in savings, and these have been held in your account for at least 28 days within the last 31 days before you apply.
  • a clear tuberculosis (TB) test result – this depends on which country you are from3.

Walker also notes that those holding the visa can’t extend their stay unless they are from Australia, Canada, or New Zealand. “And it’s also important to remember that you don’t have access to public funds (such as unemployment benefits), and you can’t bring in members of your family on your application.

In addition, applicants will need to attend a biometrics appointment. “That can sometimes take time and it depends on where you are because it has to be the country you’re a resident of,” Walker explains. “So, if you are traveling around Europe, for example, and you want to go to the UK on a youth mobility visa, you have to go back to your country of residence to pay for a biometrics appointment. And while they’re fairly common in the country of residence – and some countries have centres all around the world, it can be trying, having to go back to your country of residence.”

Ultimately the Youth Mobility Visa is an important part of the immigration mix that encourages those looking to work and set up businesses to do it in the UK. At Paul Beare Ltd we have extensive experience of helping individuals and businesses navigate the immigration and business set up landscape. From work visas to sponsor licenses, we’re there no matter what you need.