UK - Clarification of changes to the Working Holidaymaker Scheme

There has been some confusion about the changes to the Working Holidaymaker Scheme of 8 February 2005. We are including some further details below.

  • Those applicants who applied before February 8, and who have not received a decision can choose to have their application decided under the new requirements, or to withdraw their application and receive a refund of the application fee.
  • From 8 February 2005 all working holidaymakers whose entry visa (entry clearance) was obtained on or after the 08 February 2005 can only take employment incidental to their holiday, may not engage in business or provide services as a professional sportsperson and can not work more than 12 months during their stay. Therefore, if you are granted a visa after 8 February 2005 you can only do low level jobs in the UK. All working holidaymakers whose entry visa was granted before 08 February can work as a working holidaymaker under the previous rules and conditions which allowed you to work in any employment and for the whole of the two year period.
  • You can apply as a working holidaymaker if from 08 february you are between 17 and 30 years old and a national or citizen of a Commonwealth Country, except for Lesotho, or a British Overseas Citizen, or a British Overseas Territories Citizen; or a British National (Overseas);
  • You may switch into employment only in the following categories; Innovators, Highly Skilled Migrant Programme or Work Permit employment, if the occupation is on the list of designated shortage occupations maintained by Work Permits (UK). You will only be allowed to switch into work permit employment if you have been in the UK for at least 12 months as a working holidaymaker, and the vacancy is one listed on the work permit shortage occupation list. These restrictions apply to all people whether or not they come under the old or new workingholidaymaker scheme.

This amendment is for all in-country further leave to remain applications submitted on or after 08 February, and it doesn't matter when the working holidaymaker obtained entry clearance.

All work permit applications submitted before 8 February, and for which a FLR (IED) application has yet to be decided will still be considered under the pre 08 February Immigration Rules.

Please see the section on working in the UK for more information.