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Tier 5 – Government Authorised Exchanges

This visa is for those individuals coming to the United Kingdom through approved schemes that aim to share knowledge, experience and best practice through work placements, whilst experiencing the wider social and cultural setting of the United Kingdom.

Visitors’ dependants are allowed to work if they are accompanying or joining the main applicant in the UK provided they have the correct visa to do so.

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We hold a 100 percent success rate for points-based visa applications due to the exceptional service and support provided by our solicitors.

Find out how our highly skilled immigration solicitors can help you secure your Tier 5 – government authorised exchanges visa by calling us or requesting a call back at a time suited to you.

  • General requirements

    For sponsored researchers and visiting academics the following restrictions apply:

    • The individual must not fill a genuine vacancy in the UK workforce
    • The employment must conform to UK employment legislation and any funding/salary received must meet national minimum wage requirements
    • Funding can come from any source, but the individual cannot fund themselves
    • The individual can be paid weekly, monthly, annually or in one lump sum. There are no restrictions, provided they are paid at national minimum wage rates
    • The work must be skilled to at least level 3 on the National Qualification Framework; broadly defined as ‘A level and above'

    To confirm the skill level is appropriate, we must assign a relevant SOC Code to each Tier 5 application. In practice, as we can only appoint ‘sponsored researchers’ or ‘visiting academics’ to Tier 5 roles, the SOC Code will never be anything other than PhD level.

    The job title must relate to the relevant SOC Code, but there are no other rules on Tier 5 job titles. For sponsored researchers we most commonly use ‘visiting scientist’, ‘visiting researcher’ or ‘sponsored researcher’. This is not an exhaustive list.

    The visa is valid for two years maximum and cannot be extended beyond this date. The sponsored individual may be able to undertake supplementary employment.

  • Certificate of Sponsorship: CoS application procedure

    Any individual seeking to come to the university through the Tier 5 (GAE) route must first be issued a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from the university. It is for faculties and departments, not individuals, to request a CoS. To apply for a Tier 5 CoS, departments should supply the following documentation:

    • Tier 5 application form
    • Curriculum vitae
    • Photo page of a valid passport
    • Copy of degree certificate plus certified translation if not in English
    • A copy of the letter from the organisation that is going to sponsor the applicants' stay whilst they are at the University. The letter should include details on the dates of their stay and the total amount of funds they will receive

    Individuals cannot apply for their visa more than three months before the CoS start date. However, the CoS must be used within three months of being assigned.

  • Visa application process

    An application for a Tier 5 (GAE) visa must be made from outside the UK in the applicant's country of residence. The only exception are those individuals holding a Tier 4 visa, who can switch to Tier 5 (GAE), but only if they are to undertake an internship or a period of temporary work experience in the UK.

    If an individual wishes to apply for a Tier 5 (GAE) visa, they will need to be awarded a minimum of 40 points. This is calculated as below.

    30 points for a valid CoS. This will be met if:

    • The individual is not filling a genuine vacancy in the UK workforce
    • The employment conforms to UK employment legislation and any funding and salary received meets national minimum wage requirements
    • The work is skilled to at least level 3 on the National Qualification Framework
    • Ten points for meeting the UKVI maintenance criteria

    If these requirements are not met then the individual will not be issued a Tier 5 visa

    Before an individual who is sponsored under Tier 5 starts work, institutions must tell them about their responsibilities under the points-based system.

  • Documents to provide

    To support your Tier 5 visa application you should submit the following documents:

    • Original bank statements proving that you have a minimum daily balance of £945 (if applying in the UK or overseas) for a continuous three month period
    • Current passport and any previous passports containing UK visas
    • Proof of English language such as a current IELTS certificate or your degree certificate
    • Two recent passport photos on a cream or light grey background

The Government Authorised Exchange Scheme

The government authorised exchange visa can not be used to bring unskilled workers to the UK or to fill job vacancies. If you intend to move to the UK with the purpose of working full time this visa is not the right fit for you.

On the government authorised exchange scheme you may be able to work up to 20 hours a week and even extend your visa to up to two years if you are doing further research or training.

Switching to a Government Authorised Exchange Visa

If you are in the UK on a Tier 4 general study visa you are permitted to switch to a government authorised exchange visa if you are intending to undertake work experience or an internship.

You may be able to bring dependants with you on the government authorised exchange visa, as you could be staying in the UK up to two years.

Switching to a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa

After your stay in the UK on this visa you may be eligible to switch to a Tier 1 exceptional talent visa. There are 2,000 available places in this visa category between the 6th of April 2008 and the 5th of April 2019.

The Tier 1 exceptional talent visa will allow you to stay in the UK for up to five years, after which you are likely able to apply for permanent residence.

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Our Fees

Due to the large amount of services and the complexity of each case we cannot provide any standardised fees without knowing a little bit more about your situation.

However, if you get in touch with us we can discuss in detail what charges you can suspect and what fees we will charge.

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Immigration solicitor fees
30 minute initial consultation £60 + VAT
Additional 30 minutes where consultation runs over £60 + VAT
Initial consultation + advice letter £300 + VAT
Visa checking service(no drafting) £250 + VAT
Extension applications settlement From £1,000 + VAT

Entry clearance fees - out of country
Visit Visa £600 + VAT
Spouse Visa Sponsor Employed £700 + VAT
Spouse Visa Sponsor Self Employed £800 + VAT
Dependants (Parent/Relatives) From £800 + VAT

What is included:

  • Advice on procedures and law
  • Completion of the paper and on line application form
  • Advice on all documents required to submit with application
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  • Advice on strengths and weaknesses of the case
  • Preparation of the covering letter
  • Attendances and follow up

In country applications (extensions)
Extension applications for:

  • Spouse visa
  • Tier 4 student
  • Application for discretionary leave/humanitarian protection
  • Applications for long residence
  • EEA Applications
  • Domestic violence applications
Services include:

  • Attendance and advice on procedure and legal procedure
  • Advice and completion of forms
  • Advice on documents required
  • Preparation of covering letter
  • Submission to Home Office
From £800 + VAT
Points based system - applications and extensions applications
  • Extension applications
  • Tier 1
  • Tier 2
  • Tier 4
All cases are individually assessed and if additional dependants are placed on application they will be charged seperately.

From £900 + VAT

Other Immigration applications
Application for transfer of visa into biometrics card £400 + VAT
Travel document application £400 + VAT
Entry clearance forms (completion only) £70 + VAT
Home Office Forms (completion only) £200 + VAT
Asylum From £2,000 + VAT
Asylum - fresh claim £1,200 -£1,500 + VAT

British Citizenship
Application for British citizenship/children registration £500 + VAT

Corporate fees
Employers licence for businesses (online) From £1,000 + VAT
Tier 1 entry clearance (Entrepreneur) From £2,000 + VAT
Tier 1 extension application(Entrepreneur) From £2,000 + VAT
Business audit services Price available upon request

Lodge appeal only £400 + VAT
Lodge appeal and representation £1,200 - £1,500 + VAT
Asylum appeal £1,500 - £2,000 + VAT
Bail application and representation at hearing From £1,000 + VAT
Application for permission to appeal to upper tribunal From £900 + VAT
Review of decision and counsels opinion £350 + VAT

Please be aware that cost may differ depending on your personal circumstances.

The consultation fee is discounted at the end of the case if we are instructed.

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