Tier 5 (Govt authorised exchange)

This category is for migrant coming to the UK through approved schemes that aim to share knowledge, experience and best practice, and to experience the social and cultural life of the UK.

However, this category must not be used to fill job vacancies or to bring unskilled labour to the UK.

You need a sponsor, who would be the overarching body and manages the government authorised exchange scheme. This overarching body must have the support of a UK government department.

Individual employers and organisations will not be allowed to sponsor migrants in this category, even if they are licensed as sponsors under other tiers or other categories of Tier 5. The only exceptions to this are if you are coming to the UK:

  • as a sponsored researcher, where the higher education institution you are coming to work at will be your sponsor; or
  • to work for a government department or agency.


Any work you do must be skilled which means it must be equivalent to NVQ or SVQ level 3 or above. This is unless you are taking part in the scheme set up as part of the European Union’s lifelong learning programme, where you can do vocational education and training at a lower skill level.

You are allowed to stay in the UK for up to 24 months under this category.