What is a Charity Worker?
A charity worker is a person who wants to do unpaid voluntary work for a charity in the UK, often out of a sense of duty and desire to help others.
In the UK, organisations can sponsor foreign nationals to do voluntary work for them if those individuals are not ‘settled workers’ (i.e., immigrants with permission to live and work in the UK) or otherwise do not have permission to work for those organisations.
As an organisation, you can take the charity worker route and hire foreign nationals who have a temporary need for work.
What is the Charity Worker route?
The Charity Worker route is for people aged 18 or over who wish to come to the UK temporarily to do unpaid charity work for a recognised charitable organisation. This route does not include those who are doing paid work.
The Charity Worker route allows a stay of up to 12 months only, with no support for permanent settlement.
People working in charity can also bring their family members with them to the UK, provided they meet the relevant immigration requirements.
Eligibility for Charity Workers
Your charity may sponsor people to do voluntary fieldwork on this route only if that work is directly related to the purpose of your charitable organisation. In other words, activities that:
- Are not paid or compensated in any way except for reasonable expenses
- Directly help you accomplish the goals of your charitable purpose
You cannot sponsor workers who will be engaged in repetitive or routine labour. This includes administrative work, retail or sales roles, fundraising, and maintenance of your offices and other assets.
You cannot use this route to sponsor a person who you need to fill a permanent vacancy. For example, you cannot sponsor an individual on a temporary basis to fill a permanent vacancy that exists permanently and continuously.
Sponsorship Requirements for Charity Workers
To sponsor a Charity Worker, you must:
- have a valid Temporary Worker sponsor licence for the Charity Worker route
- assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to the worker you want to sponsor
- pay the Charity Worker CoS fee
- monitor the worker for their compliance with UK Immigration Rules
- ensure the applicant has sufficient funds to support themselves and any family members when they
- come to the UK
You will also need to understand the Charity Worker route and the UKVI requirements for sponsoring foreign workers.
How to get a Charity Worker Sponsor Licence?
To sponsor a charity worker, you must hold a valid Temporary Worker licence for the Charity Worker route. If you are not already a licensed sponsor, you can apply for one by completing the UKVI online application form, paying the application fee, and submitting the form with supporting documents.
To get a Charity Worker licence, you must be one of the following:
- A registered, approved, or exempt UK charity
- A charitable organisation, usually a corporation established for charitable purposes
Your organisation’s charitable status will be checked by the Home Office before it approves your licence request. The name of your charity will be checked online with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, or the Scottish Charity Regulator.
Once you have your Charity Worker sponsor licence, you must comply with all your duties. If you do not, UKVI can downgrade or suspend your licence or even report you to the police authorities.
Certificate of Sponsorship for Charity Workers
Before the Charity Worker can apply for the visa, you must assign them a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) using your sponsorship management system (SMS) account.
A Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is not a paper certificate or document but an electronic database record which confirms details of the worker you intend to sponsor and the job they will do.
If you are an A-rated sponsor, you can assign a CoS unless you sponsored the application which led to the worker’s last grant of permission and you are now continuing to sponsor them.
How to Apply for a Charity Worker Visa?
Once you have all the documents ready including the CoS, you can ask the charity worker to apply for a visa on the gov.uk website.
In order to apply for a visa, the charity worker will need to prove their identity in one of two ways: by providing fingerprints and a photograph at a visa application centre, or by using the ‘UK Immigration ID Check’ app.
The application fee for a Charity Worker visa is £259, as well as a healthcare surcharge of £624 per year.
After the visa application is submitted with all the supporting documents, the worker will receive a decision from UKVI within 3 to 8 weeks.
As an organisation, if you are looking to sponsor a Charity Worker in the UK, we can help.
At IAS, we have a dedicated team of lawyers who can ensure that you are fully compliant with all UK sponsorship regulations.
We have extensive experience in helping organisations find the right person to hire as a Charity Worker. We have also worked closely with our clients over the years to ensure their needs are met when it comes to sponsorship applications for individuals from abroad.
Our experienced team will guide you through each step of the process so that all aspects are taken care of efficiently and effectively — leaving you free to focus on other aspects of your charity organisation without worrying about paperwork or delays!
For immediate assistance with your visa situation, call our immigration advisors today at 0333 305 9375. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone, or online.
Last modified on January 29th, 2023 at 4:35 pm
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