Ten facts about the UK's Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa

Ahhhhh... The Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa! It's - by far - our most popular service, and the visa we help Australians, Kiwis, and Canadians apply for most often.

In some shape or form, this 2 year 'working holiday' visa has been available to Aussies, Kiwis, and Canadians for many years. It's goal is and still was to open the minds and hearts of young would-be travellers to the value of working/living abroad for a period of time. These reciprocal agreements between governments allow citizens of each country to access visas to the other partner countries with some degree of ease, allowing young travellers just like you to experience life in a new and exciting country!

Here are 10 facts about the YMS Tier 5 visa that not many people are aware of...

1. It used to be called the 'Working Holiday' visa

Why not call it what it is - the 'Working Holiday' visa! Initially, this was the visa's official name. Back in 2008, the name of the visa was changed to the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme). For the most part, it's the same visa, just with a new name!

2. It used to technically only be a 1 year visa

Some years ago (when it was still called the 'Working Holiday' visa) the visa stipulations indicated that while you could stay in the UK for up to 2 years, you could only work for a total of 12 months (seems they took the 'Working Holiday' thing in two district parts - work, then holiday). Today, you have a full 2 years to work AND travel in the UK! How's that for positive change!

3. Only citizens from 8 countries world-wide are eligible for the Youth Mobility visa

The Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme visa is only available to citizens of the following countries: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Monaco, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea (though some of those countries have additional requirements in order to be eligible).

4. In Australia, New Zealand, and Canada - the eligibility requirements are VERY simple

In order to qualify for the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa in these countries, you only have to meet 3 requirements:

  • You must be between 18-30 years old when you apply
  • You must hold a valid passport for Australia, New Zealand, or Canada
  • You must have at least £1890 in savings available (this is the maintenance funds requirement)

That's it! Though, in additional, there are few other things that will disqualify you, being: if you have dependent children, or you have travelled to the UK on a Youth Mobility Visa before. In addition, you may be rejected if you have any serious criminal offences on record.

5. You can only get the Youth Mobility Visa ONCE in your lifetime

That's right. One time only. Once you have applied for and travelled to the UK on the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa, you can never apply for it again. It's not renewable. No do-overs! For that reason, it's important to make the most of your time abroad, and you may want to consider assistance with jobs/accommodation so you can start your time in the UK on the right foot! For more details, check out our UK Pub Job Program!

6. We Aussies LOVE this visa!

In 2008, only 376 Tier 5 visas were issued to world travellers looking to live and work in the United Kingdom. BUT, the number of Youth Mobility visas issued in 2016 stood at 22,342. What an increase! Of those issued in 2016, more than 50% were issued to Australians! It seems this whole working holiday thing is starting to catch on in a big way!

7. Monaco, not so much...

Only one solitary Youth Mobility Visa was issued in Monaco in 2016. Can you blame them, though? Monaco does look pretty nice...

8. Not meeting the 'Maintenance Funds' requirement is the most common reason for rejection

The UKVI is very particular about this one (after all, it's the only one you cannot prove by simply submitting your Aussie passport). Most applications that are reject, are rejected due insufficient or improper documentation relating to your maintenance funds. It's not just that you must have £1890 in your account (or equivalent in your local currency) - you need to ensure that your bank documentation provides ALL the necessary and required details in order for your application to be approved!

9. IHS fee = Access to NHS health care

A new requirement of the Youth Mobility Visa as of 2016 was the addition of the required IHS fee - or Immigration Health Surcharge. This initiative helps bring in much needed funds to the UK's NHS system to cover the costs of treating all the Aussies in the UK on their working holiday adventures. At the time of application, you will pay £150 per year for the duration of your visa; but this surcharge then insures that you have access to the NHS health system once you are living in the UK!

(NOTE: The IHS is set to increase to £300 as of December 2018 - click the link to learn more)

10. South Africans USED to be eligible. Not any more...

The South African government used to be part of this reciprocal visa agreement, however, their involvement was not renewed. The good news for our South African friends is that they can still qualify for the UK Ancestry Visa, provided they have a grandparent who was born in the UK!