Government Authorised Exchange visa and the sponsorship requirements

Government Authorised Exchange visa (previously Tier 5) and the sponsorship requirements.

Under the Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) visa route, academic institutions can sponsor those coming to the UK, on a temporary basis, to take part in one or more of the following activities:

  • Undertake a supernumerary (not required) research project with collaboration. They must not be filling an advertised position and the work should be additional to the department/faculty/college's normal requirements
  • Give a lecture/lectures where they are not filling an advertised position and the work is additional to the department/college's normal requirements
  • Act as an external examiner. The Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) route is more appropriate for academics solely acting as an external examiner.


An overview of the various requirements connected to GAE sponsorship:

  • Enables researchers, including academics, scientists, research engineers or other skilled research technology specialists, to come to the UK on a temporary basis, where they are hosted at a UK higher education institution (HEI).
  • The sponsored researcher may give lectures (which does not amount to a formal teaching post), act as an examiner, undertake skill development/knowledge transfer, undertake a period of work-based training/work experience/ internship/placement or work on research collaborations.
  • The researcher may be funded by their host, their overseas employer, or an independent UK or non-UK funding body. The researcher cannot be self-funded and must be in receipt of funding in line with, or above, the National Minimum Wage.
  • The researcher does not have to be employed overseas to be eligible for sponsorship under this scheme, and if necessary, it is permitted for the host to issue an employment contract to the researcher, provided the activity does not amount to a genuine vacancy.
  • The role must be supernumerary to normal headcount. This means they cannot fill a vacancy or undertake duties that a University of Surrey employee would be expected to do.  


Funding is required at least to National Minimum Wage. This funding can be from a UK or overseas source (e.g. paid by employer/sponsor/3rd Party either in the UK or overseas). The applicant cannot fund themselves.

Occasionally scholarship funding does not meet the National Minimum Wage (NMW), in these circumstances, where an individual does not have additional funding from their home/ employing university or another fellowship the weekly working hours will need to be reduced to ensure the funding sufficiently meets NMW.  It is important that the reduced working hours are adhered to ensure compliance, or the University will be required to withdraw sponsorship.

Find out information on current National Minimum Wage rates.

Obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

Please contact if an applicant requires GAE sponsorship.

HR will provide your applicant with a Certificate of Sponsorship.

Please see Government information pages for further details on what may be required in support of a GAE application. Please also refer to ATAS guidance.