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Working Holiday Visa In The UK: All You Need To Know

Working Holiday Visa UK: All You Need To Know

Written by Pierre Noronha

Born and raised in Mumbai, Pierre Noronha thought that he was destined to be a Chartered Accountant, but all that changed when he discovered his love for writing. Taking this new found passion forward, he started working as a content writer for UniCreds.

February 9, 2021

Do you ever wish to just pack your bags and leave for someplace far away from home? For all the adventure junkies out there, here is something that might interest you! Imagine having a single document that allows you to work and travel in the UK for a period of 2 years. Yes, you read that right! A ‘Working Holiday Visa In The UK’ can help you build memories in the UK, without having to worry about being deported to your home country. This type of UK visa is used by some 35,000 young adults who land up in London with a 24-month visa, and an action-packed itinerary. If you think that a working holiday visa in the UK is written in your destiny, here’s how you go about getting one. 

Working Holiday Visa UK: All You Need To Know

What Is A Working Holiday Visa In The UK?

A ‘Working Holiday Visa In The UK’ is called the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme in the UK. For the sake of clarity, we will refer to it as a working holiday visa in the UK for the remainder of this blog. This visa is granted to individuals aged between 18 to 30 years. It allows them to live and work in the UK for a period of 2 years. This means that individuals are free to take up employment anywhere in the UK. The earliest you can apply for a visa is three months before you leave for the UK. 

Eligibility For Working Holiday Visa In The UK

In order to be eligible for a working holiday visa in the UK, you need to be between 18 to 30 years of age. Additionally, to qualify for a working holiday visa in the UK, you need to be a citizen from one of the following countries –

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • Republic of Korea
  • San Marino
  • Taiwan

British overseas citizens, British overseas territories citizens and British nationals (overseas) are also eligible for this visa, provided they are between the ages of 18 to 30. 

You cannot apply for a working holiday visa in the UK under the following circumstances –

  • If you are already in the UK under the scheme.
  • If you have children you are financially responsible for.
  • If you have children under the age of 18 who live with you.

So, if you were wondering, “Can I get a second working holiday visa for the UK?” The answer is no. You can apply for a working holiday visa in the UK only once. 

One of the important criteria of getting a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme in the UK in that you need to prove you have the means to support yourself in the UK. As a result, you will need at least £2,530 in your bank account while applying for a working holiday visa in the UK. This amount needs to be available for at least 28 days in a row. More importantly, Day 28 must be within 31 days of applying for this visa.

How Much Is A Working Holiday Visa For The UK? 

Working Holiday Visa UK: All You Need To Know

Here are all the costs associated with a working holiday visa in the UK – 

Entry Clearance Fee – £244

International Health Surcharge – £600

Biometrics User Fee –  £55  (however, this is not applicable to all countries or cities).

Other costs that may arise are – 

  • Priority Processing
  • Super Priority
  • Walk in Appointments
  • Primetime appointment
  • Keeping your passport whilst applying

How To Apply For The UK Working Holiday Visa?

In order to get started on your working holiday visa in the UK, you need to first ascertain whether or not your country is a participating country in the visa programme. There is a specific number of visas allocated to every participating country. Here is a table that shows that –

CountryNumber of Places
Australia31,000
New Zealand14,000
Canada6,000
Japan1,000
Monaco1,000
Taiwan1,000
Hong Kong1,000
South Korea1,000

Once you fill the online visa form, it is forwarded to an Entry Clearance Officer. In order to clear this round, you will need to accumulate 50 points. These points can be earned in the following way – 

Nationality Requirement30 points for being a national of one of the designated countries. 

In order to bag these points, you will need to have a passport from the aforementioned countries.

Age Requirement10 points for being between 18 and 31 years old when your visa starts.

As per the rules, you need to be over 18 years of age when you arrive in the UK in order to activate your visa. This means that you can apply for a working holiday visa in the UK when you are 17 as long as you are 18 on your visa start date. Similarly, you can submit your online visa up until your 31st birthday but the second you turn 31, you cannot apply. 

Maintenance Requirement10 points for providing evidence you have the required maintenance to support yourself on arrival to the UK (£2,530).

This needs to be supported by the original document, on the official letter-headed paper or stationery of the organisation and bearing the official stamp of that organisation. All evidence must be dated no more than one month or 30 days before the application is submitted.

Here are the main steps involved in a working holiday visa in the UK – 

  • Prepare your supporting documentation.
  • Police Check – in case you have any convictions.
  • Proof of Maintenance – £2,530 in your bank account.
  • Finish your Visa Application on the UK Visa & Immigration website.
  • Pay all the fees and surcharges, including The International Health Surcharge.
  • Pay the Entry Clearance Fee.
  • Pay for the Biometric scans – if applicable.
  • Pay for Priority Processing – if applicable.
  • Pay to have your documents returned to you – if applicable.
  • Arrange a date for your Biometrics Appointment.
  • Attend the Biometrics Appointment.
  • Hand over or post off your application.
  • Wait for your passport to be returned.

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Types Of Jobs You Can Get With A Working Holiday Visa In The UK

Working Holiday Visas of other countries have stringent restrictions on jobs that can be taken by visa holders. However, a working holiday visa in the UK allows you to work most jobs for the entirety of the 2 year duration. Moreover, your employer can extend your stay indefinitely, if they choose to. The most popular jobs in the UK are customer service, working in hostels, bartending, nannying, retail and hospitality.

Here are the estimated rates of the aforementioned jobs –

  • Retail : £8-9 per hour.
  • Bartending/waitressing : £8 per hour.
  • Au pairs or nannying : £70-100 per week (depending on hours)
  • Customer service : £9-11 per hour.

Despite how liberal a working holiday visa in the UK sounds like, there are some restrictions – 

  • You can be self-employed on a working holiday visa in the UK, but you can not hire any employees. Your office premises need to be rented and equipment cannot be cost more than £5,000.
  • You can not work as a doctor, a professional sportsperson, or a dentist in training without a UK qualification.

The best way to find these jobs is by networking. It may seem daunting at first, but it’s not difficult to find a good job in the UK. Take help of job advertising sites LinkedIn, Indeed, Reed and Guardian Jobs, if needed. 

What To Do When You Arrive For Your Working Holiday Visa In The UK – 

Collect Your Biometric Residence Permit

Once in the UK, you are required to pick up your Biometric Residence Permit within 10 days of arriving at the post office you chose during your online application. This acts as a residence card that validates your visa, so make sure you carry it with you when exiting and entering the country. This will be the single most important document during your time in the UK, so guard it with your life! 

Get Started On Your National Insurance Number

If you want to work in the UK, then you will need to get a National Insurance Number. It’s actually super easy to apply. All you need to do is get in touch with the HM Revenue and Customs department and make an appointment. Once you have attended the interview, it takes around 4-5 weeks to receive the number in the mail. You are allowed to work while you wait for this number, however you will be taxed at the emergency rate. But once you receive your National Insurance Number, you can claim this back.

Open A Bank Account 

Most traditional banks require a visa holder to have a job and permanent address in order to open a bank account. This is why digital banks like Monzo and Revolut are popular choices, as they require minimum documentation and can be opened from your phone.

Find Accommodation 

Accommodation can be a major pain point for people who aren’t aware of the real estate market in the UK. UniAcco, the leading student accommodation platform in the UK, offers high-quality accommodation at affordable prices. You can find your ideal accommodation in all big and small cities in the UK, without shelling out a fortune. 

Register With Your Local Council 

This isn’t compulsory, but if you wish to boost your credit score or apply for a credit card, this is a good way to improve it. Moreover, if you are from a Commonwealth Country, you may be eligible to vote in the UK elections. 

We hope you enjoyed reading this blog. If you’re someone who wants to share your valuable experiences through a blog, we’re more than happy to collaborate. Write to us at contact@unicreds.com to know more about our guest-post submission process.

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