Sun | Dec 10, 2017

Immigration Corner | Seeking extension for charity work

Published:Tuesday | September 19, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I am part of a volunteer/charity workers' team in the United Kingdom working one of our missions. I am being asked to stay on a bit longer to complete the work. How should I apply for an extension, given my circumstances?

- P.M.

Dear P.M.,

Based on your question, I believe that you would have been considered a 'temporary worker - charity worker' and I will base my response on the assumption that you are the holder of a Tier 5 (temporary worker - charity worker) visa. Persons can apply to extend the Tier 5 visa and should do so before their current visas expire.

In order to be able to apply for an extension, persons must continue to meet the eligibility rules. To be eligible for a Tier 5 visa, persons will need a certificate of sponsorship reference number from their United Kingdom sponsor; £945 in savings, this is to prove that they are able to support themselves, and they must have had this in their bank account for 90 days before making the application. Persons will not need £945 in savings if their fully approved (A-rated) sponsor has stated on their certificate of sponsorship that they will certify the applicant's maintenance and that benefits will not be claimed during their stay.

A certificate of sponsorship is a unique reference number that holds information about the job that the applicant is doing and their personal details. It is not a certificate or paper document. The sponsor will provide the certificate of sponsorship and must also give the applicant the information that was used on the certificate about the job, for example, the hours of working. In addition, the sponsor must be recognised by the United Kingdom government to issue certificates of sponsorship, and the certificate of sponsorship is valid for three months from the date it is assigned to the applicant. The sponsor can give the applicant a multiple-entry certificate of sponsorship so he/she can leave and return to the United Kingdom.

It should be noted that the applicant must be in the United Kingdom to extend this visa. Persons can apply to take their stay in the United Kingdom up to a maximum of 12 months, or the time on the certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is shorter.

With respect to fees for the extension costs it is: £235 to apply online or by post; and £825 to apply in person. Persons will also have to pay the health-care surcharge as part of their application. It is advisable that applicants check how much they will have to pay before applying.

Prior to applying to extend the visa, persons should read the full Tier 5 guidance. Persons can either apply online or by post. If applicants would like to get a quick decision, they should follow the instructions in the online application or form.

With respect to dependents, persons can add dependents to their online application. This includes children who have turned 18 during their stay. If persons apply on the paper form, their dependents will need to apply on their own.

Applicants must also provide their biometric information. Please note that the successful applicant will get a biometric residence permit if their application to extend the visa is successful.

A decision will be made within eight weeks for online and postal applications, and usually on the same day if you use the premium service. Persons will be contacted if their application is complex and will take longer, for example, because the supporting documents need to be verified; the applicant needs to attend an interview; the applicant's personal circumstances, for example, if the applicant has a criminal conviction.

Please be aware that once persons have applied, they can stay in the United Kingdom until they have been given a decision, as long as the application was made before their last visa expired.

- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email:lawbassie@yahoo.com