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What are the Requirements to Qualify for a Tier 5 (Temporary) Creative and Sporting Visa?

In a recent blog, we wrote about the up-and-coming replacement for the current Tier 5 Creative and Sporting visa. This was announced in a batch of immigration rule changes presented to parliament in September 2021 which explained there will be a new International Sportsperson route which will be made entirely separate from the creative route; “The new International Sportsperson route will replace the T2 and T5 Temporary Worker routes for professional sporting workers with simplified, dedicated visa arrangements. The new route will continue to offer a dedicated option for anyone wishing to come for 12 months or less, but will bring together the T2 and T5 offers into one dedicated category, thereby making it more straightforward for professional sportspeople and their sponsors to access”. On the new creative route, the changes explain that there will be, “a dedicated route for temporary creative workers, who will be subject to the same requirements and be subject to the same grant conditions. The separation of the old T5 Creative and Sporting Worker route will deliver a Temporary Work – Creative Worker visa which recognises the unique requirements of the sector”. As yet, we do not know when these new visas will come into force, and until they do, creative and sporting temporary workers from other countries planning to come to the UK will need to apply for immigration permission under the existing Tier 5 Creative and Sporting Visa. In this article, we will explain the qualification requirements for a person applying for a UK Tier 5 Creative and Sporting visa.

What is the Tier 5 Creative and Sporting visa?

The Tier 5 Creative and Sporting visa is for foreign sporting and creative individuals with a short-term (temporary) job offer in the UK. Applicants must be sponsored by an approved employer (i.e., they must have a sponsor licence from the UK’s Home Office, which provides them with the permission they need to sponsor you). Those who are successful in applying for a Tier 5 Creative and Sporting visa are typically allowed to stay in the UK for up to 12 months. It is possible to extend this visa, however, as we explain below. You will be able to:

  • study
  • work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
  • do a second job in the same sector and at the same level as your 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
  • work as a sportsperson for your national team while it is playing in a British University and College Sport (BUCS) competition
  • work as a sports broadcaster
  • bring your partner and children with you as your ‘dependants’, if they’re eligible

You will not be able to start your own business or access public funds.

What are the qualification requirements for a Tier 5 Creative and Sporting visa?

The eligibility criteria for a Tier 5 Creative and Sporting visa differ depending on which category applies to you, as follows:

Sportsperson eligibility

  • You need to make a significant contribution to your sport at the highest level in the UK to be eligible for this visa.
  • Have a certificate of sponsorship from your UK employer
  • Enough sufficient funds to support yourself in the UK (this is typically £1,270 available, but this may be more if you are bringing family members with you to the UK).

Creative worker eligibility

  • You will need to show you will make a unique contribution to the UK labour market – this may be the case if you can show you are internationally renowned or are required for continuity
  • Have a certificate of sponsorship from your UK employer
  • Receive the minimum salary as set by Equity, PACT or BECTU (except for models, musicians or circuses)
  • Enough sufficient funds to support yourself in the UK (this is typically £1,270 available, but this may be more if you are bringing family members with you to the UK).

The support fund's requirement will not apply if you have already been in the UK for a year or more before you apply for your visa. Alternatively, you can ask your employer to provide a letter explaining they will cover your costs to the required level for your first year in the UK.

Which documents will I need to support my application for a Tier 5 Creative and Sporting visa?

As with most visas, you will need to provide several documents to prove your eligibility for a Tier 5 Creative and Sporting visa, and again which ones will depend on whether you are in the sporting or creative category. Some documents you may need to supply include:

  • your certificate of sponsorship reference number from your UK employer
  • your passport or other ID
  • evidence of enough support funds (you will need to show you have held these for at least 28 days before applying)
  • Proof of your relationship with your partner or children – only if you are applying to bring your dependant family members with you to the UK.
  • A clear tuberculosis test result (depending on which country you are from)
  • a letter of endorsement from the appropriate UK sport’s governing body, if you’re applying as a sportsperson or coach

Extending your Tier 5 Creative and Sporting visa

The Tier 5 Creative and Sporting visa is initially granted for up to one year, but can be extended as long as you still meet the eligibility criteria above. The rules state that creative workers can extend their visa for whichever is the shortest of:

  • up to 12 months
  • the time on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days
  • the time needed to extend your stay to the maximum of 24 months

Sportspeople can extend their visa for up to 12 months, or the time on their certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is shorter.

Final words

Applying for a Tier 5 Creative and Sporting visa is relatively straightforward, but can take up to 12 weeks for applications to be processed. If time is of the essence, it is advisable to engage an immigration Solicitor who can ensure your application is processed as quickly as possible by ensuring all the information required to support your case is included upfront.

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