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Youth Mobility Scheme - a bit of a lottery for young people

Written by
Nilmini Roelens, Roelens Solicitors
Date of Publication:
01 November 2021

Those who have lots of money or lots of skills and qualifications generally have more options for migrating to the UK.

The addition of India and Iceland to the Youth Mobility Scheme in the recent change to the Immigration Rules brings home the reality of just how much of a lottery it can all be.

In January and July of each year a ballot opens for a brief window of 48 hours when young people aged between 18 to 30 from a closed list of countries can apply for a chance to come to the UK to live work, study for two years under the Youth Mobility Scheme.

The inclusion of India and Iceland (effective from January 2022) create an almost curious motley combination to those entitled to apply via the lottery which already include Hong Kong (SAR), Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

What is even more striking is the absence hitherto of the 27 EU countries on the YMS. There are of course the other "traditional" recipients from the predecessor Working Holiday Maker visa category still on the Youth Mobility Scheme.

However, the list of nationals eligible for the Youth Mobility Scheme reflect an uneven distribution of want and supply of quota places. There appears to be a mismatch in relation to population and historic migration patterns.

Moreover, Indian nationals will need to prove additional requirements such as a degree level qualification or three years professional experience.

It is however a much cheaper and easier route than many others.

It would thus make sense for this route to be used to provide some relief to some of the current labour shortages by adding the EU countries. Is this likely?

The quota places for 2022 will be as follows:

Australia – 30,000
New Zealand – 13,000
Canada – 6000
India – 3000
Japan – 1500
Monaco – 1000
Taiwan – 1000
Hong Kong (SAR) – 1000
South Korea – 1000
San Marino – 1000
Iceland – 1000

Should we offer some parity and equality of opportunity to the youth from other parts of the Commonwealth since the Youth Mobility Scheme is founded on principles of cultural exchange?

Since the Erasmus scheme has gone this appears all the more pressing for young Europeans too...