News and communications from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)

08 December 2019

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Tier 5 (GAE)

Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange)

With over 60 Government Authorised Exchange Schemes in place, this temporary work route offers a number of opportuniites for migrants to train, gain work experience, share knowledge and skill and experience cultural life in the UK.  There are two categories of the scheme - 12 month work experience, internship and exchange schemes and 24 month research, fellowship and training schemes in the fields of science and medicine.  From 13 December 2012 the UK Border Agency are widening the definition of a training programme to include HM Armed Forces or UK Emergency Services.  Examples of approved schemes include the Defence Academy and the International Fire and Rescue Training which allow professionals to receive training in this field for up to 24 months.  There will also be a new 12 month work experience/professional teacher training scheme, run between South Korea and the University of Chichester added to the list of approved GAE schemes.

Individual employers and organisations will not be allowed to sponsor migrants in this category, even if they are licensed as sponsors under other tiers or other categories of Tier 5. The only exceptions to this are if you are coming to the UK as a sponsored researcher, where the higher education institution you are coming to work at will be your sponsor, or to work for a government department or agency.

Any work you do must be skilled which means it must be equivalent to NVQ or SVQ level 3 or above. This is unless you are taking part in the scheme set up as part of the European Union's lifelong learning programme, where you can do vocational education and training at a lower skill level.

You may be allowed to stay in the UK for up to 12 or 24 months under this category, depending on the scheme you are using and the length of time of your work as shown on your certificate of sponsorship.

Tier 5 migrants may take up supplementary employment of up to 20 hours a week in addition to the employment they are being sponsored for, providing it is the same occupation and at the same professional level.  Tier 5 migrants can also take up supplementary employment in a shortage occupation, even if this is a different occupation to the one they are being sponsored to work in.