Visa costs and Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)

All non-UK/non-Irish nationals coming to the UK for the 2021-22 academic year will require a visa for their time as a Modern Language Assistant. Every language assistant will need to apply for a Tier 5 Temporary Worker Government Authorised Exchange visa. The British Council will sponsor visas, meaning institutions will not need to apply to become a UK Visas and Immigration licence holder.

The overall visa costs depend on how long the language assistant comes to the UK for. Language assistants will be subject to a general visa application fee (currently approximately £189-£244). In addition, those coming to the UK for more than six months will be subject to an Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) (currently approximately £624).

If the host institution requests a French, German, Italian or Spanish-speaking language assistant for a long post or a Mandarin Chinese language assistant, the host institution agrees to reimburse the IHS in full to the language assistant.

What if our institution cannot afford to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge?

If you are still seeking to employ a language assistant in 2021-22 but unable to pay the IHS, please consider hosting a language assistant for a short post of up to six months, which is possible in the case of French, German, Italian or Spanish-speaking language assistants. If you wish to host a Mandarin Chinese language assistant, please see our webpage about our Mandarin Chinese language assistants programme.

We also recommend you look into the option of sharing a language assistant with other institutions, which can reduce costs. Find out more about sharing a language assistant.

In some rare cases, the Modern Language Assistant may be in a position to pay the IHS themselves. If you are unable to pay the IHS but still wish to host an assistant for the long period of appointment, you will be able to indicate this in your application. This will help us greatly during the allocation process, as we want to ensure we allocate the most suitable candidate to your institution. Please note however that such an allocation cannot be guaranteed.

Salary and working hours

The salary paid to the language assistant you are hosting depends on your institution's location within the UK and the number of hours the assistant works.

Modern Language Assistants work a minimum (standard) of 12 hours per week, for which assistants receive a gross monthly salary.

Any hours worked beyond the standard 12-hour period (up to 18 hours per week in total) will be charged at a fixed hourly rate. Additional hours should be negotiated directly with your language assistant. You can also negotiate additional hours with your language assistant in exchange for benefits such as accommodation. 

You cannot offer a language assistant a lower allowance in return for fewer hours.

Irish language assistants do not have to work the minimum of 12 hours a week. Please contact us with questions about our Irish language assistants programme. 

The table below indicates the salary rates (gross monthly salary and fixed hourly rate) when hosting a Modern Language Assistant in the 2021-22 academic year. Please note that the salaries in the table below do not apply to Mandarin Chinese language assistants – find out more about salaries for Chinese language assistants.

England (excluding London areas)

Northern Ireland

Scotland

Wales

Gross monthly salary - £914.05 for a standard 12 hours per week

Standard fixed hourly rate - £13.77 for additional hours beyond the standard 12-hour period.

Inner London

Gross monthly salary - £1,150.39 for a standard 12 hours per week

Standard fixed hourly rate - £17.34 for additional hours beyond the standard 12-hour period.

Outer London

Gross monthly salary - £1,085.75 for a standard 12 hours per week

Standard fixed hourly rate - £16.38 for additional hours beyond the standard 12-hour period

London Fringe

Gross monthly salary - £974.65 for a standard 12 hours per week

Standard fixed hourly rate - £14.72 for additional hours beyond the standard 12-hour period.