Thu | Sep 23, 2021

Immigration Corner | Applying for the new temporary charity worker visa

Published:Tuesday | June 15, 2021 | 12:07 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I was invited to do some charity work in the United Kingdom (UK). Please let me know if I will need a visa.

– R.B.

Dear R.B.,

Persons can apply for a Temporary Worker ­– Charity Worker visa (T5) if they want to do unpaid voluntary work for a charity and if they meet the other eligibility requirements. Please note that this visa has replaced the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker - Charity Worker) visa.

Persons must have a certificate of sponsorship from a licensed employer before they can apply to go to the United Kingdom to work. Also, the work that is carried out in the UK must relate to the work of the sponsor organisation.

The earliest persons can apply for a visa is three months before the date that they are due to start work. This date is on the certificate of sponsorship. Those applicants should get a decision on their visa within three weeks when they apply from outside of the UK.


With respect to fees, the application fee for each person applying is £244, and the fee is the same whether applying from inside or outside of the United Kingdom.

Persons will also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of the application, and they should check how much they will have to pay before applying.

Persons who are applying to extend their stay in the UK will need to pay £19.20 to have their biometric information, fingerprints, and photographs taken.


If applying to extend from inside the UK, persons can pay an extra £500 for the priority service to get a decision within five working days.

Please note that persons can pay an extra £800 for the super priority service to get a decision:

• By the end of the next working day after the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) appointment if the appointment is on a weekday; or

• Two working days after the UKVCAS appointment if the appointment is at the weekend.

Please note that working days are Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays.


Persons can stay for up to 12 months or the time given on their certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is shorter. Also, persons can enter the UK up to 14 days before the start date of their job.


Persons can:

• Study, and for some courses, persons will need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate.

• Work for the sponsor in the job described in the certificate of sponsorship.

• Do a second job in the same sector at the same level as their main job for up to 20 hours per week.

• Do a job on the skilled worker shortage occupation list for up to 20 hours per week.

• Take their partner and children with them if they are eligible.

Persons cannot:

• Receive any payment for work.

• Take a permanent job.

• Get public funds.


To be eligible for a Temporary Worker - Charity Worker visa (T5) persons need

• A certificate of sponsorship reference number from their UK sponsor.

• Enough money to support themselves in the UK – persons will usually need to have at least £1,270 available (unless they are exempt).


A certificate of sponsorship is a unique reference number that holds information about the job persons will do and contains their personal details. It is not a certificate or paper document. The sponsor will provide the applicant with the certificate of sponsorship. The sponsor must also provide the information they used on the certificate about the job, for example, the applicant’s working hours.

The sponsor must be recognised by the UK government to issue certificates of sponsorship. Please note that the certificate of sponsorship is valid for three months from the date it is assigned. The sponsor can also give a multiple entry certificate of sponsorship so persons can leave and return to the UK.


As previously stated, persons must have at least £1,270 in their bank account to show that they can support themselves in the UK.

Persons will need to have had the money available for at least 28 days in a row, and day 28 must be within 31 days of applying for this visa.

Persons will usually need to show proof of this when they apply unless either:

• They have been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months, or

• The employer can cover the applicant’s costs during the first month in the UK, up to £1,270.

The applicant’s partner and children will also need to prove that they can support themselves while they are in the UK. Persons should read the guidance online on how much is needed, and they should also read the guidance on financial evidence for more information about the money they need and how to prove it.

Please note that if the employer can support the applicant instead, the certificate of sponsorship must confirm this. The employer will need to complete the ‘sponsor certifies maintenance’ section on the certificate in the ‘Additional data’ section.

I hope this helps.

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, global vice president of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email: