28 September, 2021
The new 'statement of changes' published by the Home Office on 10 September 2021 contains several modifications including rebranding the T5 (Temporary Worker) Youth Mobility Scheme to the simplified Youth Mobility Scheme. The most significant change regarding the Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) is that, from 1 January 2022, Icelandic and Indian nationals will be added to the eligible nationals list.
The one-time scheme allows individuals aged 18-30 from select countries or territories to partake in a cultural exchange programme for up to two years.
A full list of eligible territories, including their allocation of places for 2022, is as follows:
British Overseas citizens, British Overseas Territories citizens or British Nationals (Overseas) are also eligible but there are no allocation limits.
Those eligible must be aware that the scheme is only available once and it does not lead to settlement in the UK. However, it is an attractive route for employers looking to take on new recruits as it is not a sponsored route, meaning that employers do not need to pay towards a sponsor licence or fees in relation to sponsoring a migrant.
Those seeking to apply for the YMS must apply for entry clearance prior to their arrival in the UK. This includes making an application (the fee is around £244), paying the Immigration Health Surcharge (£1,248) and providing biometric information. Applicants must be able to meet the maintenance (support funds) requirement, with funds of no less than £2,530 held over a 28-day period. They must not have any children under 18 who live with them or are financially dependent on them, and some locations may mean the applicant has to take a tuberculosis test.
India, alongside Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea will require applicants to use the Home Office's ballot process. Indian citizens must also meet additional requirements on an education or work experience basis. For education purposes, an applicant must hold a qualification that is equal to or exceeds RQF Level 6, and for qualifying work experience, an applicant must have undertaken at least 3 years' work experience in a professional role that is equivalent to an occupation specified in Appendix Skilled Occupations.
The YMS is a reciprocal scheme and therefore it has the prospect of improving relations with other nations, along with increasing employment rates and promoting the UK for tourism purposes. By adding in Iceland and India, the UK has broadened the talent pool to assist UK employers and successful YMS applicants usually do not have any restrictions on the work they can do throughout the duration of their visa.