What is the Religious Worker Visa?
The Religious Worker Visa is a subcategory of the Temporary Worker Visa, it has recently replaced the T5 (Temporary Worker) Religious Visa.
The Religious Worker Visa is for those who wish to work temporarily in a non-pastoral role, religious order or as a visiting religious worker, the visa allows you to live and work in the UK for up to 24 months. If you plan on working in a religious role for longer than this then you should consider the Minister of Religion Visa instead.
Whilst in the UK on this visa you can also study, take on a second job in the same sector and at the same level as your main job for up to 20 hours per week and do a job that is on the Skilled Worker Shortage Occupation List for up to 20 hours a week.
This visa also allows you to bring certain family members with you to the UK as your dependents. It’s important to note that you cannot access public funds whilst living in the UK on this visa.
Who qualifies as religious workers?
To qualify for the Religious Worker Visa you must have a job offer in an eligible role. There are 3 types of roles that can be eligible for this visa, they include:
- Religious workers undertaking supporting activities – these activities must be done without leading a congregation in performing religious rites, rituals and preaching the essentials of the creed.
- Visiting religious workers – you must also be employed abroad in the same work you plan to do in the UK and have ongoing employment.
- Members of religious orders -this could include e monastic communities of monks, nuns, and similar religious communities.
If the role you will be doing requires you to take on core duties of leading a congregation then you will not be eligible for a temporary worker visa, instead, these types of roles fall under the Minister of Religion visa category.
Other eligibility requirements
As well as having a job offer to work in an eligible role, there are several other requirements you must meet to be eligible for the Religious Worker Visa. You must:
- Be over the age of 18
- Hold a valid Certificate of Sponsorship – this is a unique reference number issued by your employer who must be a licensed sponsor employer. It contains your personal details as well as information about the religious work you will do.
- Have enough money to support yourself – you will need at least £1,270 in your bank account to prove that you can support yourself financially whilst in the UK. The money must be available for at least 28 days in a row within 31 days of your application.
As well as the above criteria there you will also need your Certificate of Sponsorship to confirm that you have met the resident labour consideration requirements. Employer’s sponsoring applicants for this visa must be able to demonstrate that the role could not be filled by someone in the resident labour force in the UK.
There is no minimum annual salary requirement for this visa, however, to be eligible you must be paid the National Minimum Wage unless working in a role that is exempt from this and you must also be paid the same rate that workers already in the UK could expect to be paid for the role.
How to apply for a religious temporary worker visa
You can apply for this temporary worker visa up to 3 months before the day you are due to start work in the UK. To apply, you must currently be outside of the UK and you must apply online at the gov.uk website. You will need to complete and submit the online application form.
As part of your application, you will also need to prove your identity depending on the type of passport you have you may either need to have your biometric information (your photo and fingerprints) taken at a visa application centre or use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document.
You’ll be told which of the above options that you will need to do. If you are required to attend an appointment at a visa application centre then they may need to keep your passport and other documents whilst your application is being processed.
Once you have completed these steps your visa application will be processed, you will usually receive a decision from the Home Office within 3 weeks.
Religious Worker Visa document checklist
When making your visa application you will also need to submit a number of supporting documents to prove that you meet the visa requirements. You will need the following documents:
- Your sponsorship certificate reference number
- A valid passport or another national identity document, you will need a blank page in your passport for your visa
- Evidence that you have enough personal savings to meet the financial requirement such as bank statements
- Your tuberculosis test results if you are from a country that the test is required
If you are bringing any accompanying dependants with you to the UK then you will also need to submit additional documents to prove your relationship with them.
Any documents that are not written in English or Welsh must be professionally translated.
How can IAS help?
Applying for a temporary worker visa can be a complex process and even the smallest mistake can result in your visa being refused. For the best chance of a successful application, it is highly recommended that you seek the assistance of a professional immigration lawyer.
Our immigration lawyers have decades of experience in the field of UK immigration law and know exactly what it takes for a successful application. We offer reliable and professional legal advice as well as practical application assistance.
Our lawyers can assess whether you are eligible for a Religious Worker Visa, can help you to fill in the application form and assist you with gathering all of your supporting documents. If you want to work in the UK temporarily in another type of role then we can also assess whether you are eligible for any of the other temporary worker visas.
For further information about the services we offer to temporary workers, get in touch today on 0330 057 4866.
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Yes, with this visa you can bring family with you to the UK, the types of family member that can join you include spouses, civil partners and children under the age of 18. Your children over the age of 18 can only stay with you if they are already in the UK as your dependant.
Each family member will need to complete a separate application and pay the application fee.
Religious Workers who hold a temporary visa can stay in the UK for up to 24 months, or for 28 days more than the time specified on the Certificate of Sponsorship.
Whilst in the UK you can work in the role described on your sponsorship certificate. As well as this you can also study and you can take on other work for up to 20 hours per week. You can only take on a second job if it is in the same sector and at the same level as your main job or if it is a role that is on the Shortage Occupation List.
Yes, it is possible to extend your Religious Temporary Worker Visa if your original visa was valid for less than 24 months. If you plan to extend your visa then you must apply to do so before the validity of your current visa runs out. To be eligible for an extension you will need to continue to meet all of the original eligibility requirements of the visa.
Your visa can only be extended up to a maximum of 24 months or the time on your Certificate of Sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is shorter.
To extend your visa you must apply online, if your dependent family also which to extend their stay then they will need to make separate visa extension applications.
Our lawyers can help you to extend your visa, for more information get in touch on 0333 305 9375.