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Visa Options after Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa Expires

Last updated: 5 December 2022

If your Youth Mobility Scheme visa (previously known as the Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa) is due to expire, unfortunately, it is not possible to apply for an extension. However, you may be able to switch visa within the UK and continue your stay. The Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa is normally only granted for a maximum of 2 years and cannot be granted more than once. The main UK visa types that are suitable for young people whose Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa is about to expire and who want to carry on working here are the:

Please note that this list of post-Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa UK extension options is not exhaustive. For a full list of all available work visas, please see our UK work visas and permit section.

Circumstantial Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa Extension

Until recently, it was possible for visa holders, including those with a Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa, who were unable to leave the UK before the expiry of their visa due to factors outside their control (e.g., due to COVID-19 or medical reasons), to apply for “exceptional assurance”.

Having exceptional assurance didn’t grant longer leave, but it did mean that those granted this status were not at risk of being classed as an overstayer. Unfortunately, as of 30th November 2022, exceptional assurance is no longer available.

Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa to Skilled Worker visa

One of the most popular options for Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa holders who wish to stay longer in the UK is to switch to a Skilled Worker visa. If you decide to switch from your Tier 5 to a Skilled Worker visa, you will be able to stay in the UK for up to 5 years, further renew your visa, and apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) after 5 years of continuous residence in the UK.

To switch from a Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa to a Skilled Worker visa, you will need to:

  • Have an offer of employment for an eligible role from a UK employer with a sponsor licence
  • Have a Certificate of Sponsorship from your employer
  • Meet the minimum salary requirements – typically £25,600, £10.10 per hour, or the “going rate” for your job. In some cases, it is possible to meet the salary requirements if you have a lower salary, including if you:
    • have a PhD in a STEM subject
    • have a job on the UK shortage occupation list
    • are under 26, studying, a recent graduate, or in professional training, and
  • meet the English language requirements (to level B1 on the CEFR scale) unless exempt

As a Youth Mobility Scheme visa holder who has been in the UK for over 12 months, you will not need to show evidence that you have enough savings to support yourself.

If you plan to continue working with your existing employer, they will need a sponsor licence to sponsor you on a Skilled Worker visa. As long as your employer meets the necessary eligibility requirements, they can apply for a sponsorship licence which will allow them to issue you with a Certificate of Sponsorship.

As a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme visa holder, you may also be eligible to apply for the new Scale-Up visa if you have a job with a Scale-Up business (i.e. a business that is experiencing rapid growth). The Scale-Up visa is very similar to the Skilled Worker visa; the main difference is that holder have much greater flexibility to change employer/job, become self-employed, or stop working after 6 months without the need to gain permission from UKVI to do so.

Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa to High Potential Individual Visa

If you graduated from a top international university outside the UK in the last 5 years, you may be eligible to switch from your existing Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa to a High Potential Individual (HPI) Visa. HPI visa holders can stay in the UK for up to 2 years (3 years for those with a PhD), at which point they can then switch to another visa type. As an HPI visa holder, you will be able to look for work, work in most roles, be self-employed, bring family to the UK, and travel freely from and to the UK.

To make a successful application to switch from a Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa to an HPI Visa, you must:

  • Have graduated in the last 5 years from a top-ranked international university that is outside the UK – the list of eligible universities can be found on the UKVI website1 and is updated each year.
  • Have graduated with a qualification that is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, UK postgraduate degree, or UK PhD or doctorate.
  • Meet the English language requirements (to level B1 on the CEFR scale) unless exempt.

If you did not graduate from one of the top-ranked universities on UKVI’s list, another option to consider is the Global Talent visa. However, Global Talent visa applicants must be endorsed by an approved endorsing body as being a leader or potential leader in their respective field (academia or research, arts and culture, or digital technology).

Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa to Start-Up visa

The Start-up visa is aimed at those who want to start a new and innovative business in the UK. Start-up visa holders can stay in the UK for up to 2 years, at which point it may be possible to switch to another visa, such as the Innovator visa (the follow-on from the Start-up visa)

To qualify for a Start-up visa, applicants must:

  • Be 18 years or over
  • Have a business idea that is endorsed by an approved endorsing body as being new, innovative, viable, and
  • Meet the English language requirements (to level B2 on the CEFR scale) unless exempt

As a Start-up visa holder, you will be able to bring your spouse/partner and children to the UK, work in another job while working for your business, and travel from and to the UK freely.


References

1 GOV.UK: HPI visa global universities list

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