Gap Year Visas for the UK
A letter from our Asia/Pacific Regional Director
We’ve received many questions recently regarding visas for the UK and we thought it would be useful to write directly to you as someone advising students considering taking a gap year next year.
The UK is one of the most popular destinations for students undertaking a gap year. Immigration rules often change and at the start of 2017, many young people aiming to undertake programs in the UK faced delays awaiting a visa and many had their visa application rejected and weren’t able to go overseas. The main category of visa affected was the Tier 5 Charity Worker visa. Several students going to the UK with Lattitude did face delays but all Lattitude students from Australia did obtain their visa. This is because Lattitude is a UK-registered charity and an approved ‘category A sponsor’ which means we are permitted by the UK government to provide a Certificate of Sponsorship for Lattitude volunteers to undertake a placement in the UK. We generate this in the UK government’s visa and immigration system and provide the certificate for individual volunteers to apply directly for their visa.
This isn’t the only visa category available to undertake a UK gap year. There is also a Youth Mobility visa which allows young Australians over 18 years to take a working holiday in the UK. However this visa is only allowed once. UK schools and organisations such as Lattitude have mainly used the Charity Worker visa so that students can still use the Youth Mobility visa to work in the UK at another time. The Charity worker visa is also open to 17 year olds and students don’t need to provide their financial independence and evidence of their savings.
Lattitude offers placements in schools, outdoor camps, community organisations and care homes in the UK. These are our most popular placements and we’re encouraging students to apply by our priority deadline of 30 March before these places are full for 2019. Please let them know to keep an eye on www.lattitudeaustralia.org to see which places are still available up to our second deadline on 15 June. If they are interested in other countries, we have a wide range of programs in many places including Canada, Spain, Fiji and Japan. We also have two team programs so students can combine volunteer programs with cultural experiences and travel. Project Europe takes them to Poland, Spain, Germany and the UK as well as all the countries in between. Project Asia enables them to work and explore Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
Please let us know should you or your students have any questions or want to talk through options.