As the summer months approach, there are a number of students looking to improve their CVs by showing that they have spent their summer holiday doing something more exciting than everyone else.
With the job market as competitive as ever, many graduates are keen to stand out from the crowd and are considering how they can best make themselves attractive to prospective employers. For some, this will mean summer placements or internships at home and for the more fortunate, it will mean jetting off abroad to travel or to work in warmer climates.
There is no shortage of students, graduates and youngsters all looking to spend their summers in the UK. Some are motivated by ‘giving something back’ whilst others are looking to spend a summer abroad.
Whatever the motivation, UK charities should be able to harvest the best talent around.
The key hurdle for organisations wishing to participate in this type of programme is the UK’s complex immigration controls. Students from many English speaking countries will need a visa if they wish to undertake unpaid work, even voluntary charity work. This includes nationals of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the USA.
Some think that a 6-month visit visa (which does not permit ‘work’) would suffice. This is wrong. For immigration purposes, work means both paid work as well as unpaid work.
Therefore, anyone undertaking unpaid voluntary work whilst in the UK on a visit visa would be in breach of their visa conditions. Perhaps of more interest to readers is that any organisation using such a volunteer could be committing a criminal offence and liable to a fine of up to £10,000.
In order to avoid this and to comply with legislation, a charitable organisation wishing to use the services of overseas volunteers/interns needs to take one small step. You need to register as a licensed sponsor with the UK Border Agency (UKBA).
The registration process can at times be tricky, though registration offers a number of advantages, not least the ability to attract talent from overseas. Once the licence has been approved, sponsors are able to issue certificates to prospective migrants. In the context of unpaid volunteers, they would then use this Certificate in order to apply for a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Workers) visa which would allow them to come to the UK for a short period in order to assist your organisation.
For more information about how immigration rules may affect the way in which your charity or business recruits its staff and volunteers or to discuss your immigration needs please contact our immigration expert Jamie Kerr on 0141 274 1103 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.