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Don’t miss the new ballots for the UK’s Youth Mobility Scheme

3 January 2023

The Youth Mobility Scheme is a handy visa for young people from eligible countries to try life in the UK for up to two years. This visa programme for people aged 18 to 30 is oversubscribed from some countries so there will be a 48-hour ballot for applicants from some of the eligible countries this month.

When is the next Youth Mobility Scheme ballot?

This year’s first ballot to apply for the 2022 Youth Mobility Scheme opens from 00:01am on Tuesday 17 January 2023 and closes at 00:01am on Thursday 19 January 2023.

Who can enter January’s Youth Mobility Scheme visa ballot?

Before applying for the Youth Mobility Scheme visa you must be first selected in a ballot if you’re a national of:

  • Hong Kong (with an SAR passport)
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan

Which nationalities don’t need to a ballot to apply for the UK’s Youth Mobility Scheme visa?

You can apply for a Youth Mobility Scheme visa without having to be picked in a ballot if you’re aged 18 to 30 and you’re a national of one of these countries:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • San Marino
  • Iceland

You can also apply if you’re 18 to 30 and a:

What about the Young Professionals Scheme from India?

Good question. It’s been over a year since Iceland and India joined the list of countries eligible for such visa schemes. Yet while under-Thirties from Iceland have been able to join the Youth Mobility Scheme, a year on there are still no details on how Indian nationals should apply.

As part of the UK and India’s post-Brexit trade deal, it was announced that 3,000 applicants from India will be able to come to the UK on a “Young Professionals Scheme”- though they will be subject to “country-specific eligibility requirements” that Youth Mobility Scheme applicants from other eligible nations do not need to worry about.

Indian applicants must either be educated to RQF level 6 or above, or evidence three years’ work experience in a skilled role equivalent to those on the UK Government’s Appendix Skilled Occupations list. They must also provide a local police certificate or a police clearance certificate that has been issued no more than six months before the date of application.

There will be a ballot to apply but unlike the ballots for other nationalities below, details are yet to be announced and we still do not know when the ballot will be.

What are the eligibility requirements of the UK’s Youth Mobility Scheme?

Eligible nationals must be aged under 30 on the date they apply for their visa and at least 18 on the date that the visa would become valid.

Those living with their children under the age of 18 or financially responsible for children cannot apply. People cannot apply if they have already been in the UK under the scheme.

You must be self-sufficient. The financial requirements for the Youth Mobility Scheme are proven savings of £2,530 held for a 28-day period. Day 28 must be within 31 days of applying for this visa.

Applicants may need to be certified free from tuberculosis depending on where they have been in the past six months. Usual Home Office general grounds of refusal based on applicants’ history (eg: criminality) apply.

There are additional education or professional experience requirements for Indian applicants (see above.)

How to apply to the Youth Mobility Scheme ballot

There are usually ballots in January and July every year. The majority of applicants tend to be chosen during the January ballot and the remaining places allocated in the July ballot. Unsuccessful applicants can apply again.

To enter, if you meet the above eligibility requirements, send one email during the 48 hour ballot to the relevant address below. You will get an automated reply confirming your entry.

All emails must be in English. The subject line of the email must include applicants’ name, date of birth and passport number in the format: Last name First name – DD/MM/YYYY – passport number. (EG: Smith Jane – 31/03/1999 – 123456789)

The body of the email must include your

  • name
  • date of birth
  • passport number
  • mobile phone number

Unsuccessful applicants will be notified within two weeks of the ballot closing. If still eligible they can enter the next ballot.

Applicants from Hong Kong

Email HongKong.yms2023@fcdo.gov.uk between 00:01am (one minute past midnight) on Tuesday 17 January 2023 and 00:01am on Thursday 19 January 2023 (Hong Kong time) to enter the ballot. 800 ballot places will be available in January 2023.

Applicants from Japan

Email Japan.yms2023@fcdo.gov.uk between 00:01am on Tuesday 17 January 2023 and 00:01am on Thursday 19 January 2023 (Tokyo time) to enter the ballot. 800 ballot places will be available in January 2023.

Applicants from South Korea

Email SouthKorea.yms2023@fcdo.gov.uk between 00:01am on Tuesday 17 January 2023 and 00:01am on Thursday 19 January 2023 (Seoul time) to enter the ballot. 800 ballot places will be available in January 2023.

Applicants from Taiwan

Email Taiwan.yms2023@fcdo.gov.uk between 00:01am on Tuesday 17 January 2023 and 00:01am on Thursday 19 January 2023 (Taipei time) to enter the ballot. 800 ballot places will be available in January 2023.

If you are picked in the Youth Mobility Scheme ballot

Applicants picked to apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme should receive an email by Friday 20 January 2023. Remember to check your email’s junk inbox. You then have 30 days to submit and pay for an application. After paying there is usually 90 days to book a biometric appointment at a visa application centre (VAC) to provide fingerprints and a photograph.

You are meant to be notified of the success of your visa within three weeks of your appointment, with 90 days to enter the UK. However, UKVI is experiencing processing delays at the moment, so visa applications may take longer.

How should applicants that don’t need a ballot apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme?

Those who don’t need a ballot can apply online for the Youth Mobility Scheme. They will need to provide biometrics as above at a visa application centre.

Applicants from Iceland, San Marino and India will need to provide certain country-specific documents.

How much does the Youth Mobility Scheme cost?

The application fee for a Youth Mobility visa is £259. An Immigration Health Charge to cover healthcare by the National Health Service must also be paid with the visa application. This costs £470 per year (£940 for the two-year visa).

What are you allowed to do on the Youth Mobility Scheme visa?

Successful applicants will be given a visa for 24 months and can enter, leave and re-enter the UK any time in the period. If you turn 31 during this period you can still stay in the country as long as the visa is valid.

You will be able to study (for some courses an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate) and work in most roles, be self-employed, even set up a company so long as premises are rented, equipment is not worth more than £5,000 and there are no employees. You may not work as a professional sportsperson, extend your stay, receive public funds or bring any family members to the UK on your visa.

What is the Youth Mobility Scheme allocation for each country?

The allocation for different participating countries does not follow the population size of those countries. India for instance, will have 3,000 places for its Young Professionals Scheme. Far less populous Iceland has 1,000 places, while San Marino, with a population of just 33,000 has 1,000 places on the scheme. The total allocation of places listed for 2022 for each country participating in the scheme was as follows:

  • Australia – 30,000 places
  • Canada – 6,000 places
  • Hong Kong – 1,000 places
  • Iceland – 1,000 places
  • India – 3,000 places
  • Japan – 1,500 places
  • Monaco – 1,000 places
  • New Zealand – 13,000 places
  • Republic of Korea – 1,000 places
  • San Marino – 1,000 places
  • Taiwan – 1,000 places

There is no annual limit on places for British Overseas Citizens, British Overseas Territories Citizens and British Nationals (Overseas).

What is the good news for Youth Mobility Scheme applicants from Australia and New Zealand?

In July 2022 then Prime Minister Boris Johnson and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern signed an agreement to extend the Youth Mobility Scheme and Working Holiday scheme to include those aged 30 – 35 and increase the length of time people can stay in each country to three years.

This has not been written into the Immigration Rules yet, so full details are yet to be announced.

This is also the case with Australians arriving under the Youth Mobility Scheme. According to an announcement as part of the Free Trade Agreement, the scheme will be extended up to the age of 35 rather than 30 and for up to three years rather than two. (up to age 35, up to three years). We do not know when this change will commence either. The side letter to the Australia FTA indicated that those changes would come within two years.

For more details on the Youth Mobility Scheme and other immigration options, contact us on +44 (0) 207 033 9527 or enquiries@vanessaganguin.com.