Working Holiday Visa for the UK
The Working Holiday Maker scheme has been replaced by the Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS), a cultural exchange scheme designed to grant UK visas and create reciprocal youth mobility opportunities for young people from participating countries and the United Kingdom.
What Was the Working Holiday Visa?
The UK Working Holidaymaker Visa allowed Commonwealth citizens aged between 17 and 30 to pursue UK immigration for an extended holiday of up to two years, with the intention of taking paid work in Britain as part of their stay here.
From February 2005, the scheme was geared towards making the employment undertaken incidental to the holiday and maybe a way to fund the holiday while here rather than the key reason behind the type of UK Visa application. As a result, candidates can only work half of the time that they are in the UK.
Additionally, applicants could only switch to a UK Work Permit application if their job appeared on the Skills Shortage Occupation List. Work Permits require applications via employers rather than a simple individual application.
How Did it Differ from Work Permits?
A Working Holiday Visa differed from UK Work Permits and skill based immigration services, since the main aim of the visa was to let people gain some work experience overseas rather than using international workers to fill gaps in the labour market and job vacancies that can’t otherwise be filled in the UK.
Like similar schemes in Commonwealth nations such as Australia and Canada, the scheme was intended primarily as a holiday option, with the added advantage that for half of their time in the United Kingdom, holidaymakers could earn money. Because of the nature of this visa, no points assessment was required and no specific job offer needed to be in place before you coming to Britain, as would be the case with a UK working permit.
However, it is important to remember that this route to the United Kingdom could only be issued once per person and unlike a Work permit visa application to work in the UK, it could not be extended or repeated at any point even if you returned to your home country first.
The scheme was temporary in nature and did not lead to indefinite leave to remain in the UK (ILR) often referred to as UK permanent residence, nor was there any progression towards British naturalization through UK citizenship.
What Do I Do if I Want a Working Holiday in the UK?
If you would like to work in the UK, you will need to look into other Work Permits under the Tier 2 Visas. These often require you to have a specific skill that’s needed in the UK or a job offer from a UK employer. The age restrictions on these visas are also different so offer a little more flexibility. However, you will need to contribute to the UK economy rather than simply treating the journey as a holiday.
If you’re a young person that just wants to experience the UK lifestyle, a Visitor Visa may be a better fit. If you haven’t yet been to the UK on the Youth Mobility Scheme, it may well be the right solution for you and would provide a means to support yourself in the UK and get some work experience while you’re here.