< back

By Ross Kennedy

India and Iceland join nations eligible for UK Youth Mobility Scheme. With some ballots opening soon, here’s how to apply

14 January, 2021

India and Iceland this month join a select list of countries whose 18-30 year olds can apply to come and work or study in the UK for up to two years under the Youth Mobility Scheme which was updated on 1 January 2022.

This cultural exchange programme is largely oversubscribed so there is a 48-hour ballot for applicants from some of the countries next week, and a ballot for Indian applicants is also due to be announced soon.

Citizens of Hong Kong (with an SAR passport), Japan, South Korea and Taiwan can enter a ballot to be randomly selected to be able to apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme visa between Monday 17 January and Wednesday 19 January 2022 (unsuccessful applicants can apply to the next ballot in July too.)

As part of a post-Brexit trade deal, India has just 3,000 places for the 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. These nationals must provide evidence of sponsorship issued no more than six months before the date of their application as well as documentary evidence of their nationality. Indian applicants must also 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. More details of applications from India are due to be confirmed shortly.

Deemed Sponsorship Status

The remaining countries in the scheme have what’s called Deemed Sponsorship Status, so applicants are deemed to have sponsorship if they have a document such as a passport proving nationality of their participating state or that they are a British Overseas citizen, British Overseas Territories citizen or British National (Overseas). These are the allocations in 2022 for states with Deemed Sponsorship Status: Australia (30,000 places), Canada (6,000), Hong Kong (1,000), Japan (1,500), Monaco (1,000), New Zealand (13,000), South Korea (1,000), Taiwan (1,000).

What does the Youth Mobility Scheme visa allow?

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

They will be able to study 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 they do not have any employees. They may not work as a professional sportsperson, extend their stay, get public funds or bring any family members to the UK on their visa.

While this is not a route to settlement, time spent on the Youth Mobility visa can count towards 10 years of continuous lawful residence for settlement.

For more details, contact us on +44 (0) 207 033 9527 or enquiries@vanessaganguin.com.

How and when to apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme

The earliest applicants can apply to the scheme is six months before they travel to the UK. Applicants from some oversubscribed countries will need to enter a ballot first to be allowed to apply, in which case the timings are different (see below). Applicants may be asked to provide biometric details as well as a document such as a passport proving they have a valid nationality. There is an online portal here.

A decision usually takes three weeks from completing an application and submitting all required evidence as well as fingerprints and a photograph (biometric information) at a Visa Application Centre.

For more details and help with applications, contact us on +44 (0) 207 033 9527 or enquiries@vanessaganguin.com.

How to apply to a Youth Mobility Scheme ballot

Citizens of Hong Kong (with an SAR passport), Japan, South Korea and Taiwan can enter a ballot to be randomly selected to be able to apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme visa between Monday 17 January 2022 and Wednesday 19 January. If successful they will receive an email by 28 January, after which they will have 30 days to submit an application and pay, after which they will have 90 days to book an appointment at a Visa Application Centre. Those not picked at random can apply to the next ballot in July too.

Hong Kong ballot applicants will have the chance to be chosen for one of 800 ballot places available in January 2022. They should email HongKong.YMS2022@fcdo.gov.uk between midday Monday 17 January 2022 and midday Wednesday 19 January 2022 (Hong Kong time) to enter the ballot.

Japanese entrants will also have a chance to nab one of 800 ballot places available in January 2022. They should email Japan.YMS2022@fcdo.gov.uk between midday Monday 17 January 2022 and midday Wednesday 19 January 2022 (Japan time) to enter.

South Koreans also 800 ballot places available in January 2022. They should email SouthKorea.YMS2022@fcdo.gov.uk between midday Monday 17 January 2022 and midday Wednesday 19 January 2022 (South Korean time) to enter.

There are also 800 ballot places available in January 2022 for applicants from Taiwan who should email Taiwan.YMS2022@fcdo.gov.uk between midday Monday 17 January 2022 and midday Wednesday 19 January 2022 (Taiwan time).

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: Lastname Firstname – DD/MM/YYYY – passport number. (EG: Wong Janet – 31/03/2000 – 123456789)

Details of ballot entries from India are soon to be announced.

How much does the Youth Mobility Scheme cost?

The application fee for a Youth Mobility visa is £244, which must be paid on top of the Immigration Health Charge of £470 per year (£940 for the two-year visa).

What are the financial requirements for the Youth Mobility Scheme?

The financial requirements for the Youth Mobility Scheme are savings of £2,530 held for a 28-day period and there must be no children aged under 18 who are either living with applicants or financially dependent upon them.

What are the other requirements for the Youth Mobility Scheme?

Applicants must be a British Overseas citizen, British Overseas Territories citizen or British National (Overseas), or a national of Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino, South Korean or Taiwan.

They must not have spent any time in the UK on this route before and must be over 18 on the date their entry clearance will become valid, and under the age of 30 on the date of application.

They 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.) They will either need written proof of educational qualifications or proof of three year’s work experience in an eligible occupation, evidenced by payslips, with a job title and employer’s name as well as confirmation on company letterhead that the payslips are genuine. More details on the Indian scheme are soon to be announced.

Sponsorship requirements for Iceland and San Marino

As well as the above requirements, applicants who are nationals of San Marino  must provide a letter from the Directorate of Political and Diplomatic Affairs of the Republic of San Marino Department of Foreign Affairs.

Iceland nationals must provide a Criminal Certificate for Private Use/Sakavottorð – for further guidance see: island.is/sakavottord.

For help applying to the scheme, or for any more clarification, please do contact us on +44 (0) 207 033 9527 or enquiries@vanessaganguin.com.