Not too long ago, finding short-term work in the United Kingdom felt too much like Mission Impossible. First, you had to get in, which was not at all easy to begin with considering you had 80 options to choose and just as many conditions to tick off. Requirements were confusing, paperwork was tedious, and the system was so inefficient it wore out not just the applicants but the immigration officers themselves.
Then, in 2008, a new points-based system was introduced. The UK Tier 5 visa replaced the wildly popular Working Holiday visa. The categories were reduced from 80 to 5, the requirements were revised, and everyone who belonged to the Working Holiday scheme were transitioned into the UK Tier 5 visa system. Now, what does this change have to do with you and how does it affect your application? There are three changes, specifically:
1. The requirements are clearer.
2. Processing is simpler and quicker.
3. The system is far more transparent than before, and there is less bureaucracy involved.
The last improvement is especially important because back in the day, it wasn’t unheard of for applications to be rejected for arbitrary reasons. It wasn’t a very pleasant reality, but it was a reality that many had to deal with and end up disappointed by, nonetheless. Today, the possibility that your application would get turned down just because the immigration officer happened to be cranky that day is practically zero. This is because thanks to the points system, even you can do the number-crunching and work out the points you earn.
Here are other things you need to know about the UK Tier 5 visa:
1. You can stay in the UK up to 2 years, and its perfectly alright for you to find temporary or short-term work during this time.
2. After 2 years, you will need to return to your country. Once there, you may apply for a Tier 1 or 2 visa.
3. South Africans cannot apply for a UK Tier 5 visa. This is because South Africa does not offer a similar program.
4. You should not have dependent children.
5. You will need to earn 50 points for your application to even be considered.
Of course, its not unusual for requirements to change over time so you should keep yourself abreast with existing policies. That way, your paperwork is up to date, and you will know what to expect.