From 1 January 2022 the eligible nationalities for the Youth Mobility Scheme will be expanded to include Indian and Icelandic nationalities.

The Youth Mobility Scheme allows nationals of specific countries, aged 18 to 30, to come to the UK for a period of two years. Applicants do not need sponsorship from a UK company and can undertake any type of employment (apart from professional sportsperson or coach). It is also possible to be self-employed in the UK, subject to certain restrictions.

At the moment, applicants must be a national of one of the countries below and some are subject to a ballot process:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • San Marino
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan

From January 2022 this list will be expanded to include Indian and Icelandic nationals. Indian nationals will also be subject to the ballot process.

There will however be additional eligibility requirements for Indian nationals. To qualify they will also need to provide evidence that they:

  • Hold a qualification equal to RQF Level 6 or above (i.e. equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree or above) or
  • Have at least three years’ work experience in a professional role (i.e. those roles that would qualify for a Skilled Worker visa under the sponsorship regime)

It’s important to note that this immigration category does not lead to permanent residency rights in the UK and cannot be extended beyond the two year period. 

However, it’s a helpful category for individuals at the start or early stages of their career to work in the UK for a temporary period. It could also be useful for UK employers as a way to transfer existing staff from their overseas offices as an alternative to the Intra Company Transfer or Skilled Worker categories. It could also be a quicker and more cost effective way to enable internships within the UK company.