Government Authorised Exchange

A Government Authorised Exchange Visa sponsor must be an overarching body that manages the exchange scheme and has the support of a UK government department. Individual employers and organisations are not allowed to sponsor migrants in this category, even if they are licensed as sponsors under other tiers or categories of Tier 5 (Temporary worker).

Any work applicants do on an exchange scheme must be skilled. Skilled work is defined as being equivalent to National or Scottish vocational qualification (N/SVQ) level 3 or above. The only exception to this is when migrants are coming to the UK through a scheme set up as part of the European Union (EU) Lifelong Learning Programme, when they may do vocational education and training at a lower skill level.

Maintenance funds

An applicant must score 10 points for maintenance, they must:

  • show they have personal savings of at least £945 – this amount excludes overdraft facilities, and the funds must have been held for a consecutive 90 day period ending no more than 31 days before the date of their application
  • have an A-rated sponsor who certifies on the certificate of sponsorship (CoS) that they will maintain and accommodate them up to the end of their first month of employment in the UK if required

Length of stay

This category is for applicants coming to the UK for a maximum period of 12 or 24 months for approved exchange schemes that aim to share knowledge, experience and best practice.

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