UK Charity Work Visa Overview
The UK Charity Worker Visa is a visa subcategory of the UK Temporary Worker Visa. This is a visa for Bangladeshi’s who wish to do unpaid voluntary work in the UK.
This visa route enables applicants to stay in the UK for a period of up to a year (12 months) or the time noted on the applicant’s Certificate of Sponsorship for an additional 14 days. Whichever option is shorter.
If the applicant wishes to work in the UK for a period longer than this, they will need to consider a different work visa. Similarly, if the individual wishes to do paid work in the UK, a different work visa will be required.
While an individual is in the UK on a Charity Worker Visa, Bangladeshi’s can do unpaid charity work for the individual or company that sponsored them.
However, as well as this, the individual can also study and take on a second job, provided that the second job is in the same sector as the applicant’s primary job or is a role included in the UK Shortage Occupation List, without having to obtain a second work visa.
There are some limitations related to this visa that charity workers entering the UK should take note of. One of these is that Bangladeshis cannot receive any payment for any of the work that they do during their time in the UK.
These individuals also cannot take on a permanent job, either. Similarly, these individuals cannot access public funds in the UK, such as employment benefits.
UK Charity Work Visa Eligibility & Requirements
To be considered eligible for a Charity Worker Visa, the applicant must be doing unpaid voluntary work in the UK.
UK immigration rules define unpaid voluntary work as ‘activities that would not normally be offered at a waged or salaried rate, which contribute directly to the achievement or advancement of the sponsor’s charitable purpose’.
The charity work conducted must not include any roles in administration, fund-raising, retail, or the maintenance of the charity’s offices or any other types of assets.
As well as the individual having to meet the above work requirements stated, there are other additional requirements that an applicant has to meet to be eligible for the UK Charity Worker Visa.
Bangladeshi’s must meet the following criteria to apply:
- The applicant must be over the age of 18.
- The applicant must hold a Certificate of Sponsorship from a charity in the UK that holds a valid UK Sponsor Licence.
- Applicants must be able to financially support themselves while they are in the UK. An applicant is required to have a minimum of £1,270 in personal savings in their bank account to show this. Alternatively, it is possible to ask the employer to support you.
Bangladeshi’s applying for the UK Charity Work Visa will need to pay an application fee, which is £298 per person. The fee for the application is the same regardless of whether you are applying from inside the UK or from outside the UK.
Each additional dependent included in the application will also need to pay the application fee. Each applicant will also need to pay the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge, which is £624 per person per year.
Bangladeshi citizens should also ensure they are prepared and aware of the requirement to prove they have enough personal savings to meet the eligibility criteria when applying.
How To Apply For A UK Charity Work Visa
Bangladeshi’s applying for the Charity Worker visa can do so up to 3 months before the intended start date of work in the UK. This visa must be applied for online, which can be done via the gov.uk website.
To apply for the UK Charity Worker Visa UK, applicants need to complete the following steps:
- Find the UK Charity Worker visa application online, complete it, and submit it. It can be submitted up to 3 months before the day you are supposed to start work here, but not any earlier.
- Pay the relevant application fee of £259, as well as the £624 immigration healthcare surcharge. The immigration healthcare surcharge gives applicants access to the NHS if they require any medical care or treatment during their time in the country.
- Once the application is complete and the fees are paid, the applicant should use the UK:Immigration: ID Check mobile application to prove their identity. Alternatively, it is possible to book an appointment at a local Visa Application Centre in either Dhaka or Sylhet. Applicants will be instructed on what to do when they submit their online application.
- Make sure to provide any documents that the Home Office requests. That may include, but is not limited to:
- Your Certificate of Sponsorship number, as provided by your voluntary work employer.
- Your passport, or some other form of document that presents and can prove your nationality and identity.
- Evidence shows that you have a minimum of £1,270 in savings to be able to support yourself during your time in the United Kingdom. Alternatively, if your employer will be supporting you, this should be stated in your Certificate of Sponsorship, and this may be requested.
- Proof of your relationship with your dependent family members, such as your partner or children, if they will be coming to the UK with you.
- Your tuberculosis test results.
The total visa application process requires you to complete the application form, prove your identity, and provide supporting documents that back up your application.
How you prove your identity depends on the type of passport you have. Those who attend a Visa Application Centre will be required to attend an appointment where they will have their biometric information taken. This will include having your fingerprints scanned and your photograph taken.
Once the application is completed, applicants can expect to receive a final decision on their case from the Home Office in around 3 weeks. Some applications may take longer if there is an issue with the application. However, you will be informed if this is the case.
There may also be the option to obtain priority processing.
Applications that have been completed online, with a completed identity check and supporting documents provided, will have their visa decision made depending on location.
Those who are residing outside of the UK at the time of their application will typically get a decision on their visa within 3 weeks.
Those who are residing inside the UK at the time of their application will typically get a decision on their application within 8 weeks.
If the applicant is required to go to an appointment, they may be able to pay to request a faster decision. The way this is done will depend on whether the individual is inside or outside the UK.
Obtain A Faster Decision
The priority service for visa applications will usually result in a decision within 5 working days or soon after. Applicants can sometimes use the UK’s super-priority service, which allows for a decision by the end of the next working day. It can still take some time to get a decision if the Home Office needs to ask for more information.
Should the decision take longer, applicants will typically not get their money back. Those who are applying from inside the UK should note the following:
- The applicant must have permission to be in the UK to apply for the priority or super-priority service.
- Applicants can only pay for a faster decision on certain visas.
The Charity Worker Visa is eligible for a faster decision for those applying from within the UK. However, applicants can only apply for a UKVCAS appointment in 5 working days or a UKVCAS appointment the next working day. This visa is not eligible for an ID app decision within 5 working days.
Can I Get A Refund On A Priority or Super Priority Fee?
The ability to get a refund on a priority or super-priority fee is dependent on whether or not the applicant is cancelling their visa.
Those who are not cancelling their application will not typically be able to get their money back once they have applied for a priority service, although each case is considered individually.
Applicants won’t get a refund if they do not get a decision in time if the Home Office requires more information to make their decision.
However, the Home Office may provide a refund if they were unable to decide in time due to factors outside of control, such as a technical issue.
On the other hand, those who wish to cancel their visa application can get a refund for a priority or super-priority service fee. It does depend on how the applicant was told to prove their identity and the stage of the applicant’s application.
Those who were told to prove their identity in person and have already provided biometric information at a Visa Application Centre will not be able to get a refund.
Those who were told to provide their identity in person but have not yet provided biometric information at a Visa Application Centre will get a full refund. However, this does need to be requested.
Those who used the mobile application to prove their information will be eligible for a refund if they have not selected ‘confirm and upload’ in the application yet.
Alternatively, they will be eligible for a refund if they cancel their application before the set deadline for uploading evidence. This refund will not be given automatically, and the applicant should ask for a refund to be given.
Bangladeshi individuals applying for the UK Charity Worker Visa can bring their partner and children with them. However, the partner and children will need to apply to join the applicant during their stay in the UK as dependents.
If the applicant’s partner or child has a successful application, the visa of these individuals will typically end on the same date as the primary applicant’s. Should the child’s parents have visas that have different dates of expiration, the child’s visa will end on whichever date is sooner.
A dependent is considered to be any of the following:
- A husband, wife, unmarried partner, or civil partner.
- A child under the age of 18, including those born in the UK during their stay.
- A child over the age of 18 if they are currently in the UK as an applicant’s dependent.
As part of this application, applicants will need to provide evidence showing that the familial relationship with the dependent is genuine.
Evidence For Dependents
The partner of the primary applicant, applying as a dependent, will need to prove one of the following:
- The partner and their spouse are in a marriage or civil partnership that is recognised in the UK.
- The partner and their spouse have been living together in a relationship for a minimum of 2 years at the time of application.
The child of the primary applicant, applying as a dependent, will need to meet the following criteria:
- They must live with the primary applicant unless they live away from home in full-time education.
- They must not be in a civil partnership or married.
The following evidence will need to be provided for the child concerning their address:
- A valid bank statement.
- A driving licence.
- Credit card bills.
- NHS registration documentation.
- An official letter from their college or university.
Financially Supporting Dependents
The partner and children of the applicant must have a certain amount of finances available to support themselves during the time spent in the UK. Either the primary applicant, their partner, or the child will need to show they have:
- £285 for the spouse.
- £315 for one child.
- £200 for each additional child.
The money must also be available for at least 28 consecutive days. There will be a requirement to show proof of this upon application unless one of the following is true:
- The applicant and their dependents have been in the UK with a valid visa for a minimum of 12 months.
- The employer can cover the family costs during the first month of UK living.
Applying for a UK charity worker visa as a Bangladeshi is a great opportunity to experience the UK culture and do some work in important sectors that need assistance. However, applying for this visa can be complex, especially if you are bringing dependents with you.
This is why it is advisable to speak to a legal advisor if you are applying for a Charity Worker Visa from Bangladesh. Here at Total Law, our team of legal experts can help you throughout your application and assist with priority fees or appeals if your visa is rejected. Contact us today at +44 (0)333 305 9375 to get started.
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