Visas for overseas volunteers coming to the UK

28 October 2010
Visas for overseas volunteers coming to the UK

Q: We sometimes receive internship applications from individuals living overseas. I wondered what would be the most appropriate visa arrangements for a volunteer? 

Volunteering England has a factsheet on accepting volunteers from overseas.

If your volunteers are from the UK or Europe, there are unlikely to be restrictions on their volunteering activity. The UK Border Agency briefly explains this as part of its introduction to the Points Based System.

If your volunteer is from outside Europe and they do not already have a visa which permits them to take unpaid work in the UK for the duration of their time with you, they will need to apply for a suitable visa. Volunteers will typically qualify as charity workers under Tier 5 of the Points Based System. In order to sponsor someone to volunteer with you under the Points Based System, you will need to register as a sponsor with the UK Border Agency.

If you’d like advice on any specific issues, you might wish to contact the UK Border Agency’s employers and sponsors helpline and email service which is open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm. 

Please note that HRBird by its very nature offers general information. If you're looking for advice specific to your situation, speak to an HR professional or solicitor. Got a question on staff or volunteers? To submit an anonymous query for the HRBird blog, contact us. 

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