What is the International
9 November 2021
The International Agreement route is a UK immigration category which allows individuals to come to the UK to provide a service covered under international law. It is a sub-category of short-term visa under the Temporary Work route, previously called T5 (Temporary Worker).
You can apply for a Temporary Work – International Agreement visa if you will be contracted to do work in the UK which is covered by international law or treaty, for example working for a foreign government, working as a private servant in a diplomatic household, or providing a service under contract as a contractual service supplier or independent professional.
The route is sponsored, meaning your employer in the UK must hold a Home Office sponsor licence in order to issue you with a Certificate of Sponsorship to start work. In this article, we provide a brief overview of the eligibility requirements for a Temporary Work – International Agreement visa, and how to apply.
To apply for a Temporary Work – International Agreement visa, you must:
- Have a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from a licenced employer
- Have enough money to support yourself in the UK – You’ll usually need to have at least £1,270 available (unless you are exempt)
- Be 18 or over when you apply.
Your work in the UK must be any of the following:
- Covered by the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)
- Covered by similar agreements between the UK and other countries
- For an overseas government or international organisation
- As a private servant in a diplomatic household or in the household of an employee of an international organisation.
How long you can stay
How long you can stay depends on the type of work you will be undertaking in the UK.
- If you are working for a foreign government or as a private servant in a diplomatic household, you can stay for up to 2 years, or the time given on your CoS plus up to 28 days, whichever is shorter.
- If you are providing a service under contract, you can stay for 6 months in any 12 month period, or the time given on your CoS plus 14 days, whichever is shorter. The service you are providing must be:
- In a relevant sector as set out in the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)
- In another services trade agreement under which the UK has similar commitments
You can stay for longer if your work is covered by one of the following agreements:
- UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement – 12 months or the time given on your CoS plus up to 14 days, whichever is shorter.
- Temporary agreement between the Swiss Confederation (Switzerland) and the UK on services mobility – 12 months in any 24 month period or the time given on your CoS plus up to 14 days, whichever is shorter.
How to apply
Applications for Temporary Work – International Agreement visas are submitted online via the gov.uk website. It costs £244 to apply, and this fee is the same whether you are applying from inside or outside the UK. You will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), which is currently £624 per person per year.
As part of the application process, you will need to prove your identity either by:
- Having your fingerprints and photograph taken at a Visa Application Centre (VAC)
- Using the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document.
You can only apply from inside the UK if you are applying to extend your existing International Agreement visa, or if you are applying to switch to this visa from another category.
You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the day you are due to start work in the UK. Once you have applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you will usually get a decision within 3 weeks if you are outside the UK, or 8 weeks if you are inside the UK.
Once your Temporary Work – International Agreement visa has been granted, you will be able to:
- Work for your sponsor in the job described on your CoS
- Do a second job on the Skilled Worker Shortage Occupation List, or one in the same sector as your main job for up to 20 hours per week (unless you are a private servant, a contractual service supplier or an independent professional)
- Study, as long as it does not interfere with the job you’re sponsored for
- Travel abroad and return to the UK
- Bring your partner and children with you as your dependants, if they are eligible
Find the right immigration route for you
If you are looking to start work in the UK and need some advice on the range of immigration routes available, Smith Stone Walters can help.
Our immigration advisors will work with you from initial consultation to delivery of your visa, helping make the process as stress-free as possible. For an informal discussion about your requirements, please contact us today.