Major Barrier To Volunteers From Overseas

It may be that very few South Derbyshire Volunteer Managers will have volunteers from overseas, but just in case you are planning to go down this road, Third Sector Magazine has highlighted an issue with UK Borders Agency and visas.

In Third Sector’s e-bulletin, an article by Sarah Townsend says:

Voluntary organisations are appealing to the UK Borders Agency to clarify the volunteer category of the new points-based immigration system.

“It is a hideously complicated process that urgently needs reviewing,” said Mike Locke, public affairs director of Volunteering England. High levels of bureaucracy could deter people from travelling to the UK to volunteer, he said.

The Tier 5 category of the system requires anyone entering the UK to do voluntary work to obtain a visa. Voluntary organisations receiving them must hold a £400 licence. But there is confusion about what activities are classed as volunteering.

Ignorance about the system has also led to volunteers being turned away. Last week, 14 volunteers from Florida arrived at Gatwick to work at a church in London but were sent home for not having the correct paperwork.

 Ifr you want to know more about this issue, please contact us at the Volunteer Centre South Derbyshire.

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About Volunteer Centre South Derbyshire

We are the Volunteer Centre serving South Derbyshire, supporting volunteers, volunteer managers and volunteering organsiations
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One Response to Major Barrier To Volunteers From Overseas

  1. Hello, I manage an international volunteering charity based in Brighton called Concordia. We both send volunteers overseas and host international volunteers in the UK. I just wanted to share our experaince with Tier 5 and bring ‘Visa Nationals’ into the UK for short term volunteering projects. It has, as Mike Locke said ‘been a bit hideously complicated’. We have had to register as a sponsor which has set us back £400 and then for each visa national that we invite we have to pay UKBA an additional £10 and this does not guarantee that we will get the volunteer into the UK. The main change for us, apart from the additional cost is that volunteers who previously came into the UK from Japan, Korea, USA and Canada now have to have visas for volunteering. Sadly one of our volunteers coming from Korea was sent back from Heathrow airport to Korea for not having a visa. Then to add insult to injury one of our volunteers came to the UK on a T5 visa, then didn’t turn up to the project so we reported him to the UKBA – (as part of our sponsorship you have to let the UKBA know if a volunteer doesn’t turn up for a project as you are responsible for them). I couldn’t add him to the on-line management system that comes with being a sponsor so I called the UKBA. They told me that he was not in the UK as his visa had not been registered. Humm! He was in the UK and had got through immigration without having his visa activated – the joy of loop holes!!!
    I hope in time that the system will work better but at the moment we have a large visa bill and some scared, poor, and unhappy volunteers arriving in to the UK all thanks to the new T5 – please also note it costs the incoming volunteers a small fortune to come into the UK.

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