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Graduate Trainee Visa

The Graduate Trainee visa allows those on an overseas graduate training course to come and work in the UK temporarily.

For more information about the Graduate Trainee visa, including detailed advice for your situation and further advice on how to come and work in the UK, speak to one of our immigration advisers today. Call us on 0333 4149244, or contact us online.

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    Overview of the Graduate Trainee Visa

    The Graduate Trainee visa allows graduate trainees to come and work in the UK for their employer in their UK branch.

    In order to qualify for this visa, you must be on a structured graduate training programme leading to either a specialist role or a senior managerial role.

    In addition, the job you’re applying for must fulfil certain eligibility criteria.

    This visa is a part of the UK government’s Global Business Mobility category of work visas. It replaces the previous Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) Graduate Trainee visa.

    What is the Eligibility Criteria for the Graduate Trainee Visa?

    In order to qualify for the Graduate Trainee visa, you must:

    • Be an existing employee of an organisation that’s been approved by the Home Office as a sponsor
    • Have worked for your sponsor outside the UK for at least 3 months immediately before you apply
    • Have a certificate of sponsorship from your employer with information about the work you will do in the UK
    • Do a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations
    • Be paid at least £25,410 a year
    • Have at least £1,270 in your bank account to show that you can support yourself when coming to the UK

    What Can I Do With a Graduate Trainee Visa?

    When in the UK on a Graduate Trainee visa, you will be able to do the following:

    • Work for your sponsor in the job that’s described in your certificate of sponsorship
    • Study
    • Bring your partner and children with you as your dependants, if they’re eligible
    • Do voluntary work
    • Travel abroad and return to the UK

    Note that you will not be able to:

    • Access most public funds or the State Pension
    • Change jobs
    • Take on a second job
    • Apply to settle permanently in the UK through indefinite leave to remain

    The Points Requirement

    All applicants applying under the Graduate Trainee visa must meet the points requirement for this route.

    In total, you must accrue 60 points across three categories. These categories are worth 20 points each.

    The categories are as follows:

    • Sponsorship: You must have a valid certificate of sponsorship that has been issued by your employer. You and your sponsor must also fulfil the other eligibility requirements regarding your role (20 points).
    • Job at appropriate skill level: Your job must be at level 6 or above (graduate level) on the Regulated Qualifications Framework for England and Northern Ireland, or the equivalent level in Wales or Scotland (20 points).
    • Salary at the required level: You must be paid at least £25,410 per year or 70% of the ‘going rate’ for your job, whichever is higher (20 points).

    Note that as well as accruing 60 points total across the above metrics, you must also satisfy the other necessary eligibility requirements in order to qualify for this visa.

    What Are the Sponsorship Requirements?

    To be eligible for the Graduate Trainee visa, you must be sponsored by an eligible employer who meets the sponsorship requirements for this route.

    Firstly, your sponsor must issue you with a valid certificate of sponsorship for the training course that you’re planning to undertake. The training course must lead to a senior management or specialist position with a legitimate work placement in the UK.

    The sponsor must provide proof of the legitimacy of this training course, such as evidence of recruitment for the programme.

    Your sponsor must also be A-rated by the Home Office.

    Your application for a Graduate Trainee visa may no longer be valid if your sponsor loses their A-rating or their sponsorship licence in the course of the application process.

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    The Application Process For Graduate Trainee Visa

    You must apply for a Graduate Trainee visa online through the Gov.uk website.

    Note that you must have been working for your sponsor outside the UK for at least 3 months immediately before the date you apply.

    When applying for this visa, you’ll have to fill in the application form and upload the necessary supporting documents needed.

    You’ll also have to prove your identity. This will either be done at a visa application centre, where you’ll give your biometrics information, or the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document.

    If you need to attend a visa application centre, you’ll give your fingerprints and have a photograph taken of you for your biometric residence permit. In addition, the visa application centre may need to keep your passport and documents while they process your application.

    You’ll be notified of how you’ll have to prove your identity when you apply.

    What Supporting Documents Will I Need to Provide?

    Overview of Core Documents

    You will need to provide the following documents when applying for a Graduate Trainee visa:

    • Your certificate of sponsorship reference number (you will be given this by your employer)
    • A valid passport or other document that shows your identity and nationality
    • Your job title and annual salary
    • Your job’s occupation code
    • The name of your employer and their sponsor licence number (this will be on your certificate of sponsorship)
    • Evidence that you have enough personal savings to support yourself in the UK, such as through bank statements (unless your certificate of sponsorship shows that your employer can support you)
    • Proof of your relationship with your partner or children if they’re applying with you
    • Your tuberculosis test results (only if you’re from a listed country)

    If your certificate of sponsorship was issued between 11 February 2022 and 11 April 2022, you will be able to use your Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa certificate of sponsorship to apply for a Graduate Trainee visa.

    You do not need to get a new certificate of sponsorship or update your existing one.

    Additional Documents You May Need

    You may also be asked to provide some additional documents with your visa application. These may include the following:

    • Evidence you’ve worked for your employer outside the UK for 3 months immediately before you apply, such as through:
      • Printed payslips
      • Online payslips supported by a letter from your sponsor signed by a senior staff member
      • Bank or building society statements
      • A building society pass book
    • Details of your graduate training programme
    • A valid ATAS certificate if you need one because your job involves researching a sensitive subject at PhD level or higher

    Note that for all of the documents you provide, you’ll need to provide a certified translation for any documents that are not in English or Welsh.

    Get in touch with our immigration experts for help with your Graduate Trainee application.

    How Much Does a Graduate Trainee Visa Cost?

    The Graduate Trainee visa costs £298 to obtain.

    Graduate Trainee visa holders will also have to pay the immigration healthcare surcharge when applying. This will be £1,035 per year, for every year you’ll be in the UK.

    You must also have at least £1,270 in your bank account to show you can support yourself when you arrive in the UK.

    You will need to have had the money available for at least 28 consecutive days. The end date of the 28 day period must be within 31 days of your date of application.

    You’ll need to show proof of funds in your bank account unless your employer covers your costs for the first months in the UK. Your employer can cover up to £1,270 in costs for you, and it must be confirmed on your valid certificate of sponsorship if they are supporting you.

    Note that your partner and children will also need to prove they can support themselves while they’re in the UK.

    What Are the Processing Times for the Graduate Trainee visa?

    Once you’ve submitted your application, uploaded your supporting documents and proved your identity, you’ll normally receive a decision within 3 weeks.

    Remember that you will only be able to apply for this visa up to 3 months before the day you are due to start work in the UK. This date will be listed on your certificate of sponsorship.

    You should also allow for extra time if you’re required to attend an appointment at a visa application centre.

    You may also be able to pay extra for a priority service or super priority service to get your application processed within 5 days or by the next working day, respectively.

    Note that this service may not be available in all countries.

    What Happens After I Apply?

    After you apply, your application will be reviewed by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to check that it meets the requirements for the visa.

    If your application is approved, you will receive either:

    • A sticker (called a vignette) that goes in your passport (if you gave your biometric information at a visa application centre)
    • access to view your immigration status information online (if you used the smartphone app to prove your identity)

    The vignette or online immigration status information will show the following:

    • The type of visa you’ve been granted
    • The dates your visa is valid for
    • The conditions of your visa

    You will also have to pick up your biometric residence permit once in the UK, if you’ve applied for one.

    If your application is refused, you will receive a letter or an email detailing why.

    You will also be told if you’re eligible for an administrative review or an immigration decision appeal.

    What Are the Requirements for Dependents?

    Overview of Dependents

    You will be able to bring your partner and children with you to the UK as dependents on a Graduate Trainee visa. If their application is successful, their visa will end on the same date as yours.

    You will be able to bring the following family members with you:

    • Your husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried partner
    • Your child under 18 (including if they were born in the UK during your stay)
    • Your child over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as your dependant

    You’ll need to provide evidence of your relationship when you apply.

    Requirements for Partners

    If bringing your partner to the UK, you must be able to prove that either:

    • You’re in a civil partnership or marriage that’s recognised in the UK
    • You’ve been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years when you apply

    Requirements for Children 16 or Over

    If bringing children who are 16 or over to the UK, they must:

    • Live with you (unless they’re in full-time education at boarding school, college or university)
    • Not be married, in a civil partnership or have any children
    • Be financially supported by you

    In addition, if your child lives with you, you’ll need to provide evidence of their address using documents such as the following:

    • A bank statement
    • Credit card bills
    • Driving licence
    • NHS registration document
    • An official letter from their university or college

    What Are the Financial Requirements for Dependents?

    Your dependents must also have enough money to support themselves while they’re in the UK with you.

    The requirements are as follows:

    • £285 for your partner
    • £315 for each child

    Your dependents will have had to have the money available for at least 28 consecutive days. The end date of the 28 day period must be within 31 days of your date of application.

    You’ll usually need to show proof of this when they apply, unless either:

    • You have all been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months
    • Your employer can cover your family’s costs during your first month in the UK (this must be confirmed on your certificate of sponsorship)

    Note that if your partner or child is applying at a different time to you, they’ll only need to prove they have enough money to support themselves if they have been in the UK for less than one year.

    How Can Dependents Apply?

    Each one of your dependents will have to submit a separate application for a visa online through the Gov.uk website.

    They will each also need to pay a separate visa application fee.

    When applying online, your dependents will require your application number, which you will receive when you apply. This number is known as a Global Web Form (GWF) or a Unique Application Number (UAN).

    Your dependents will also have to prove their identity.This will either be done at a visa application centre, where you’ll give your biometrics information, or the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document.

    Once your dependents have submitted their application, uploaded their documents and proved their identity, they will also receive a decision on their application within 3 weeks.

    How Long Can I Stay in the UK For on a Graduate Trainee visa?

    A Graduate Trainee visa holder will be able to stay in the UK for either the time given on the certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days, or 12 months, whichever is shorter.

    You will not be able to extend your visa while in the UK. However, you will be able to apply for another Graduate Trainee visa after your first one expires and you leave the UK.

    Note that you can only stay in the UK for a maximum of 5 years in any 6 year period if you’ve spent time on any of these visas:

    How Can IAS Help wit the Graduate Trainee visa application?

    The UK Graduate Trainee visa route is one of the UK’s newest immigration routes under the Global Business Mobility category of visas.

    It’s a useful way for graduates training for a managerial or specialist role to come to the UK and add to their work experience to help further their careers.

    If you’re currently working outside of the UK and considering applying through the Graduate Trainee route, IAS can help.

    We are a team of expert and professional legal advisers who are well-versed in UK immigration law and requirements. We can work with you to provide bespoke and tailored advice for your situation to help you obtain a Graduate Trainee visa and a certificate of sponsorship from your employer to facilitate your travel to the UK.

    Whether you need further assistance with the Graduate Trainee visa application process, advice on the eligibility criteria for the visa, or any other immigration-related issue, we can help.

    For more information about the services we provide and how we can help you, reach out to a member of our team today. Call us on 0333 4149244, or contact us online.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Unfortunately, you will not be able to switch to a Graduate Training visa.

    This is because one of the requirements for it is to have been working for an overseas employer for 3 months immediately before you apply.

    If you’re in the UK and wish to apply for this visa, you’ll need to first leave the UK and apply from abroad.

    In order to learn whether your job is eligible for this visa or not, you’ll first need to find out its four-digit occupation code.

    This code will be displayed on the certificate of sponsorship you’ll receive from your employer.

    You’ll then need to refer to the list of eligible occupations to see if your job is eligible for a Graduate Training visa.

    If you happen to have a child while you’re in the UK with a Graduate Trainee visa, they will not automatically become a British citizen.

    Instead, you’ll need to submit an application online for them as your dependent. This will be necessary if you wish to travel in and out of the UK with them.

    You must apply to add them to your visa before they turn 18 if they want to stay in the UK.

    No, the Graduate Trainee visa does not lead to ILR. The individual would have to switch to a visa that lead to ILR.

    No, visa holders of the Graduate Trainee visa are able to work without restriction of minimum salary requirements, and in any sector.

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