Changes to the UK Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS)

Changes to the UK Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS)

The UK Government is reviewing the expansion of visas for Australian and Canadian nationals.

The Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) is set to undergo some changes, which include an expansion of the eligible age range for Australian and Canadian citizens from 18-30 to 18-35. In addition, the maximum duration of stay under YMS for these citizens will be extended from 2 to 3 years.

The Youth Mobility Scheme visa has been an attractive option for many young people from 11 specific countries to travel and at the same time work in the UK. The requirements for the countries differ slightly, but it ordinarily allows individuals aged 18-30 to obtain a two-year visa, which permits employment in the UK.

While the visa is favoured because it removes the need for employer sponsorship, applicants should be mindful that it cannot be renewed beyond the initial two/three years. 

Also, it does not lead to permanent settlement in the UK, which means applicants will need to apply under another visa category to continue residing in the UK after the end of the visa. It does however provide visa holders with the platform to showcase their skills to UK employers.

For those looking to switch to a more permanent status in the UK, a sponsored Skilled Worker visa often becomes the logical next step. This route becomes viable if the candidate secures a job offer from an approved sponsor and can eventually lead to permanent residence and even British citizenship.

Time spent in the UK under this visa is also unlikely to count towards a qualifying residence period for settlement applications under other visa routes. 

Another significant change is the addition of Andorra to the list of countries participating in the YMS. 

Rights and Permissions Under the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa

The Youth Mobility Scheme visa allows holders to:

  • Engage in studies, although certain courses may require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate
  • Work in a wide range of job sectors
  • Establish their own business and be self-employed, provided that you rent your premises, your equipment is valued at less than £5,000, and you do not have any employees

However, there are certain restrictions on the scheme.

  • Visa holders are not permitted to work as a professional sportsperson, such as a coach.
  • Extending the visa beyond the allotted period is not possible
  • Access to public funds is not available
  • Family members cannot be included in the application

The Youth Mobility Scheme Visa can only be obtained from a visa application center outside the UK. The applications are typically processed within 3 weeks. These timescales reflect the processing time once an application is fully submitted, which includes submission of the online form, proving your identity, and submitting your supporting documentation. 

Other countries also offer a similar scheme known as a Working Holiday Visa, check out our blog post here to know which countries offer Working Holiday Visas.

Are you planning to work and live in the UK? Talk to us in the comment section below. Or if you need more advice on the above, contact us for further travel & immigration advice.

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If you need help with a US visa, a UK Visa, or a visa to Europe, including help with appointment booking obligations, IaM can help. For more information and advice on US immigration, UK immigration law and US visa applications or if you need any help or assistance please, reach out to your Visa Coordinator at IaM.

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