Temporary Work Visa UK from Ireland

Most Irish citizens have the right to live and work in the UK, but when an Irish business is looking to hire foreign nationals as temporary workers, they must apply for a UK Temporary Worker Visa for them.

Need help applying for British Temporary Worker Visas for staff who are foreign nationals? Total Law’s team of immigration lawyers can help ease the process. Call our office now on +353 061 518 025.

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    What is the UK Temporary Worker Visa?

    Temporary Worker Visas are a specific immigration class designed to let foreign nationals work in the UK for a set assignment. They allow for businesses both UK-based and Irish-based to import employees from nations on a temporary basis, where they wouldn’t usually be permitted to.

    There are six different types of Temporary Workers Visas, each for a separate employment type:

    • Seasonal Worker Visa
    • Government Authorised Exchange Visa
    • Creative Worker Visa
    • Religious Worker Visa
    • Charity Worker Visa
    • International Agreement Visa.

    Irish businesses will usually find that staff they wish to work in the UK temporarily are free to do so visa-free if they are Irish citizens. However, should they wish to employ non-Irish or non-UK foreign nationals, they will need to undergo the Temporary Worker Visa application process.

    UK Temporary Worker Visas were previously known as Tier 5 (T5) Visas.

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    Limitations and restrictions associated with Temporary Worker Visas

    Temporary Worker Visas are limited to allow work assignments on a short-term basis only; between six months to two years, dependent on the exact visa type being applied for. In most cases, a Temporary Worker Visa will allow the holder to:

    • Work in the UK in the job described in their Certificate of Sponsorship
    • Study (alongside their primary temporary work)
    • (In some circumstances) Take a second job (alongside their primary temporary work) for up to 20-hours a week
    • (In some circumstances) Bring a partner and/or dependents with them for the duration of their temporary work.

    In most cases, UK Temporary Worker Visa holders may not apply for a permanent job while in the country; so employees should not consider this an immigration route to permanent employment in the UK or settlement.

    Types of Temporary Work Visas

    The different types of UK Temporary Worker Visa each provide a temporary immigration route for employment in the country, each for a different sector or profession. Businesses must ensure that their employees are applying for the correct type of Temporary Work Visa, or the application will be declined.

    Seasonal Worker Visa

    The Seasonal Worker Visa is for overseas nationals completing farm and horticultural work in the UK. It is valid for a period of up to six months (or between 18th October and 31st December for seasonal poultry work) and includes roles such as packaging fruit and vegetables. This Temporary Work Visa allows for the holder to work in the specified job and to study but not to take on a second job.

    A Seasonal Worker Visa costs £298 per applicant and allows the holder to enter the UK up to 14 days before the commencement of their role.

    Applicants for Seasonal Worker Visas must be aged 18 or over and must be able to demonstrate that they have at least £1,270 in their bank account for 28 days in a row within 31 days of the visa application being made – or the sponsoring employer must meet this financial requirement.

    Government Authorised Exchange Visa

    The Government Authorised Exchange Visa allows for those sponsored by an approved UK Government Authorised Exchange Scheme to work temporarily in the UK for work experience or training. Employers will know if they appear on this scheme list, as they will be either:

    • Running an Approved Exchange Scheme
    • A Higher Education Institution sponsoring researchers, visiting academics or examiners
    • A (non-UK) ‘foreign Government’ department or agency.

    The Government Authorised Exchange Visa allows for holders to bring family members with them, and costs £298 per applicant as well as an NHS annual surcharge. Applicants must be be able to demonstrate that they have at least £1,270 in their bank account for 28 days in a row within 31 days of the visa application being made or that their sponsor will cover this financial requirement for them.

    Creative Worker Visa

    The Creative Worker Visa replaces the previous Creative and Sporting Temporary Visa. It allows for an employee of the creative industries (ie, an actor, dancer, film crew member or musician) to work in the UK temporarily but does not include any professional sportsperson; they will need to apply for the separate, non-temporary, International Sportsperson Visa.

    The Creative Worker Visa facilitates stays of one year or the job duration plus 28 days, whichever is the shorter. It allows for visa holders to study, take up a second job or work on a role in the Skilled Worker shortage occupation list. A Creative Worker Visa applicant must meet set requirements based on their skills and role, including the standard £1,270 monthly financial requirement and earning the minimum salary as set by Equity, PACT or BECTU. A Creative Worker Visa application costs £298.

    Religious Worker Visa

    The Religious Worker Visa allows eligible temporary workers to work in a non-pastoral or religious order role, but in a religious capacity. It will allow for the holder to study, take up a second job and bring their dependents with them. Employers will know if they are a suitable sponsor for this visa type as they will be a relevant religious organisation.

    Applications for a Religious Worker Visa cost £298 per applicant.

    Charity Worker Visa

    A Charity Worker Visa allows the holder to undertake unpaid voluntary work for a registered charity sponsoring them. Eligible volunteers for charities must be aged 18 or over and allows for the holder to stay for up to 12 months or the voluntary job plus 14 days, whichever is the shorter.

    The application visa fee for the Charity Worker Visa is £298 per applicant.

    International Agreement Visa

    An International Agreement Visa is the temporary work permit designated for those contracted to do work covered by international law or treaty. A sponsoring employer will need to be either:

    • An overseas (non-UK) Government
    • A ‘recognised international organisation’
    • A diplomatic household employing a private servant.

    An International Agreement Visa allows for government or international organisation workers to work in the UK for up to two years, and private servants in diplomatic households up to five years. Visa holders are usually permitted to bring family members with them. A visa application for an International Agreement Visa costs £298 per applicant.

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      Certificate of Sponsorship Requirements

      All applications for Temporary Work Visas must include a valid Certificate of Sponsorship lodged by the employer. This document details the work, rules and limits associated with the applicant’s intended role, dependent on the employer’s Sponsorship Licence. In most cases, it costs an employer £25 to file a CoS for a Temporary Worker Visa.


      A CoS is a legally binding document and infers responsibilities onto both the employer and the employee, so it is recommended that legal advice is sought in its creation. Total Law can help – call our team on +353 061 518 025  for guidance.


      Both the foreign worker and the organisation creating a CoS will need to ensure they are eligible for the role described on the Certificate. The UK Home Office offer an online service to help generate Certificates, known as the Sponsorship Management System (SMS). Once generated on the SMS, a reference number is created. This number should be referenced on the application form for the Temporary Work Visa and allows the immigration authorities to marry up the application with the job and employer details.

      Certificates of Sponsorship are subject to data compliance and audit regulations, as well as monitoring and reporting responsibilities. Such a role should be carried out by a legally qualified individual, with any chances in circumstances immediately reported to the Home Office. Total Law’s team can help manage this process – chat through your requirements on +353 061 518 025.

      How to Apply for Temporary Work Visas for Employees

      Every visa application differs in detail, but the general process for applying for a Temporary Worker Visa in the UK is as follows:

      Check eligibility

      If an employee is ineligible for a visa but an application is made, it will be refused and the application fee lost. It is therefore critical that employers ensure that their workers are eligible for an application before the process is initiated.

      Generate Certificate of Sponsorship

      A CoS must be created by the employer ahead of any visa application being filed. It is recommended that legal guidance is sought for this step if a new Certificate is being generated or any details are being changed. Total Law are available for consultation on +353 061 518 025.

      If the employee will be filling out the application form themselves, they should be notified of the CoS reference number to include.

      Gather relevant documents

      The applicant must hold a valid passport and be able to prove they meet the financial requirements. Any documents not presented in English or Welsh will need to be translated by a UK Government authorised translator.

      Apply online

      The online application form should be completed on the GOV.UK website; either on behalf of the employee or by them themselves. Applicants will need:

      • A valid passport
      • The Certificate of Sponsorship reference number
      • Proof of meeting the financial requirements
      • Any other required documents for dependents
      • The application fee in cleared funds.

      Attend biometric information appointment at Visa Application Centre

      The applicant must attend a pre-booked appointment at a local Visa Application Centre to supply the information required for their biometric residence card. This is usually a photograph and fingerprints.

      Await result

      UK immigration authorities will notify the employer and employee of the decision on whether to grant the visa as soon as it is made. If granted, the applicant may travel to the UK as soon as the visa is dated; if not, details of any recourse to appeal will be provided.

      Total Law’s immigration solicitors and legal executives can manage this process end-to-end on behalf of businesses; either for single applications or bulk. Contact us on +353 061 518 025  to learn more.

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        How can Total Law help?

        Total Law work with organisations of all shapes and sizes to import the best possible talent for their business. Our team of lawyers specialise in immigration law and navigate the British visa systems daily to maximise the chances of success in applications and appeals.

        Call our office today on +353 061 518 025 to discuss your business’ requirements and allow our team to take the strain. Whether you need a single application filing or a bulk amount pushing through, we can help.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  In most cases, Irish citizens may work in the UK without a visa. If you’re unsure of your employees’ immigration status, contact Total Law on +353 061 518 025 to clarify your position as their employer.

                  For the purposes of UK immigration, an ‘overseas government’ counts as any government department or body outside of the UK. Some Irish government bodies may not count. Speak to a Total Law immigration lawyer to confirm on +353 061 518 025.

                  There is no UK Temporary Worker Visa class that allows the visa holders to claim benefits from public funds, no matter their pay structure. Employers should not rely on state benefits to ‘top up’ their low-paid workers’ wages.