The Working Holiday Maker scheme allows a Commonwealth citizen aged between 17 and 30 (inclusive) to immigrate to the United Kingdom for an extended holiday of up to two years, with the intention of taking paid work in Britain as a part of their working holiday visa.
You can come to the UK for an extended holiday for up to two years and can take up any form of work. The work should have been planned so that it is an integral part of your working holiday. For example, you may have decided that you wish to spend some time in London and so also wish to find work in London.
Additionally, you may only switch to a UK work permit application if the profession in which you have a job offer features on the Skills Shortage Occupation List. However, switching to the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme or HSMP is still permitted.
A working holiday visa differs from UK work permits and skill-based immigration services such as the Highly Skilled Migrant Program, in that its main purpose is not to bring immigrants to the country to fill job vacancies but to grant leave to enter the UK to those interested in working overseas. Like similar schemes in Commonwealth nations such as Australia, The scheme is intended primarily as a holiday option, with the added advantage that for half of their time in the United Kingdom, holidaymakers may earn money. Because of
the nature of this visa for working in the UK, no points assessment is required and no specific job offer needs to be in place before you can come to Britain, as would be the case with the UK working permit.
However, it is important to remember that this route to the United Kingdom may only be issued once per person and unlike a Work permit visa application to work in the UK, it cannot be extended or repeated. The scheme is temporary in nature and will not lead to indefinite leave to remain in the UK (ILR) often referred to as UK permanent residence, nor will there be any progression towards British naturalization through UK citizenship.
You must be aged between 17 and 30 years, (inclusive)
In order to be eligible for this type of UK work visa, applicants must be able to fulfill the requirements set out below.
Applicants must be either a Commonwealth citizen, a citizen of a British Dependent territory or a British overseas citizen.
Employment must not be the primary motive for living and working in the UK.
You must be either single or married to a person who qualifies for the scheme in their own right and will be joining you on the holiday. You do not have any dependent children who are either over the age of five years or will be before the holiday ends.
Like HSMP UK visas of this kind require you to be able to support yourself throughout the duration of your holiday and for your return trip, without recourse to public funding.
You must intend to leave the country at the end of the duration of your visa.
You may only work in Britain under this class of British visa for immigration for a maximum period of two years from the date you enter the country. Any time spent outside the country during this period, once the permit has been granted, will be counted as part of the two-year duration.
Types of Employment
Visas for immigration to the UK of this kind allow a holder to undertake most types of work whether paid or unpaid voluntary work. However, working holidaymaker visa applicants are not permitted to begin or run their own business venture or work as a professional sportsperson. The itinerary of the holiday, in terms of when work is undertaken and which parts of the 2-year duration, constitute a holiday is left entirely to the preference of the applicant. However, within the 24 month period, it is only permitted to work a maximum of 12 months.
Spouse and Dependent Immigration
Spouse immigration is permitted under this scheme, but your spouse or unmarried partner will need to qualify under the regulations of the scheme in their own right. The scheme does not work like a dependency visa or a marriage visa, based on being a partner or dependent of someone with settled status as a permanent resident of the United Kingdom. Each person embarking upon this immigration service must be able to demonstrate that they independently satisfy the conditions of the scheme.