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Tier 5 - Temporary Workers

Tier 5 of the points-based system includes a variety of sub-categories that allow migrants to come to the UK on a temporary basis.  The two main sub categories of relevance to the University are the Government Authorised Exchange Scheme (under which the University holds a license to for Sponsored Researchers) and the Youth Mobility Scheme (which does not require a Certificate of Sponsorship from the University).

Tier 5 (Temporary Worker - Government Authorised Exchange) visa

The UKVI allows higher education institutions to bring migrants to the UK, on a temporary basis for up to 24 months, under the Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) route as a sponsored researcher on a supernumerary research projects.  It is not possible for the University to assign a Tier 5 Certificate of Sponsorship to a migrant who intends to take part in any activity other than supernumerary research or teaching or as an external examiner.

The University holds its own allocation of Tier 5 Certificates of Sponsorship which can be assigned to those who qualify as temporary workers. Unlike Tier 2, there is currently no monthly cap on the number of Tier 5 Certificates of Sponsorship and the University is not required to request Tier 5 Certificates of Sponsorship for overseas applicants on a case-by-case basis from UKVI.

All migrants coming to the UK to work as a sponsored researcher must obtain entry clearance/visa before arriving in the UK.

This category must not be used to fill genuine job vacancies or to bring unskilled labour to the UK.  Those using the Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) route may be employed and paid by an overseas institution; overseas students conducting research as part of their PhD; or may have been awarded a grant to fund their employment in/visit to the UK.

Human Resources will determine if the migrant should use Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) or whether a different immigration category applies, following discussion with the relevant Line Manager or Head of School.

Please note that a migrant who will be a registered student at the University of St Andrews should apply under Tier 4 and should contact Student Services for further guidance.

The University can sponsor migrants under this category.  For all migrants requiring a Tier 5 visa, the application process involves two stages:

  1. The University must assign a Tier 5 Certificate of Sponsorship to the migrant provided the work qualifies under Tier 5 rules.
  2. The migrant must make an application for a Tier 5 visa which allows then to enter and work in the UK.

Tier 5 migrants can:

  • Work in the job described in the Certificate of Sponsorship
  • Conduct a second job for up to 20 hours per week provided it is at the same professional level as the job on the Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • Do a job on the Tier 2 shortage occupation list for up to 20 hours per week as well as their main job
  • Bring dependents 

Tier 5 migrants cannot:

  • Take a permanent job
  • Get public funds
  • Switch to a Tier 2 visa within the UK

Further information can be found at

Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa

The Youth Mobility Scheme is for young people from participating countries who would like to experience life in the UK and work for a maximum of 24 months.

The countries currently participating in the scheme are Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of South Korea and Taiwan.

The University does not need to assign a Certificate of Sponsorship under this category and migrants must submit their visa application directly to the UKVI.  Migrants with a Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) are free to work in any role at the University however are not be permitted to extend their stay in the UK beyond 24 months nor will they be allowed to switch into another visa category whiel in the UK.

Further information can be found at


Human Resources

Cameron Little
The Old Burgh School
Abbey Walk

St Andrews
KY16 9LB
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 1334 462497
Fax:+44 (0) 1334 462570