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Graduate Trainee visa

The Graduate Trainee visa (part of the Global Business Mobility scheme) allows employees of overseas businesses on a managerial or specialist graduate training program to work in a UK branch of their employer.

Contact our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or complete our enquiry form to discuss your UK Graduate Trainee visa application.

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What is the Graduate Trainee visa?

The Graduate Trainee visa allows employees of overseas businesses on a managerial or specialist graduate training programme to work in a UK branch of their employer. It is part of the Global Business Mobility scheme and replaced the old Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer (ICT) Graduate Trainee visa.

Some important points to bear in mind about the Graduate Trainee visa include:

  • The Graduate Trainee visa under the Global Business Mobility Scheme is different from the Graduate Visa. The Graduate Visa is for overseas students who have completed a degree (or higher-level qualification) in the UK and wish to stay for up to 2 years to find work.
  • Those applying under the new Graduate Trainee visa scheme must be on a managerial or specialist graduate training programme with their overseas employer
  • Those not on a graduate training programme but are in a Senior or Specialist Worker role may be able to apply for a Senior or Specialist Worker visa (this replaced the old Intra Company Transfer Visa (ICT visa)).
  • The Graduate Trainee visa does not provide a direct route to UK settlement (ILR). You can, however, switch to a different type of visa in the UK, allowing you to gain ILR after living here for 3 to 5 years, depending on which visa you apply for.
  • You can bring your dependant family members with you to the UK, including your spouse and children.
  • While in the UK, you can do paid work, voluntary work, and study.
  • Graduate Trainee visa holders can stay in the UK for up to 12 months.

Graduate Trainee visa requirements

The Graduate Trainee visa requirements state that applicants must have:

  • a valid certificate of sponsorship from the UK branch of their employer
  • worked for their overseas employer for at least 3 months immediately before the date of application
  • a role on the list of eligible occupations
  • a salary that meets the minimum requirements for their role: at least £23,100

Sponsorship and sponsor licence requirements

Graduate Trainee visa applicants must hold a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from the UK branch of their overseas employer. A CoS is a digital document containing details of the offer of sponsorship. The CoS must have been granted within 3 months of the visa application. Where an employer is not currently on the list of approved sponsors, they will need to apply for a sponsor licence from the Home Office.

List of eligible occupations

To apply under the Graduate Trainee visa scheme, your job must be on the list of Global Business Mobility scheme eligible occupations1. The UK based branch of your employer will be able to provide the 4-digit standard occupation code (SOC) for your role. You can then use this SOC against the Home Office’s list of eligible occupations.

Minimum salary requirements

Graduate Trainee visa minimum salary is £23,100 or 70% of the ‘going rate’2 for their job (i.e., the higher amount).

Support funds

Applicants need to show evidence of at least £1,270 in support funds for when they first arrive in the UK. These funds must have been held by the applicant for at least 28 days before applying. Alternatively, applicants can ask their employer to guarantee that they will provide the necessary support funds if necessary. To prove this, the Certificate of Sponsorship must have the words ‘sponsor certifies maintenance’ under the ‘Additional data’ section.

Graduate Trainee visa required documents

Graduate Trainee visa applicants must provide several documents to the Home Office to prove their eligibility; these may include (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) reference number
  • current valid passport
  • job title and details of annual pay
  • standard occupational code
  • employer details, including company name and sponsor licence number
  • bank statements showing personal savings of at least £1,270 in support funds
  • evidence of the applicant’s relationship with their dependant partner and/or children (if they are part of the same application), e.g. marriage or civil partnership certificate and birth certificate
  • tuberculosis test results (this only applies to those from a listed TB country)

Depending on your circumstances, you may need to provide more documents.

How to apply for a Graduate Trainee visa

The steps required to apply for a Graduate Trainee visa are as follows:

  1. Make sure you have your Certificate of Sponsorship from the UK branch of your employer.
  2. Complete the online Graduate Trainee visa application form3.
  3. Pay the required application fees (as outlined below).
  4. Provide proof of identity. This can be done by making and attending a biometric appointment at a visa application centre (or UKVCAS in the UK) or by using the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ mobile phone app.
  5. Upload any documents requested by the Home Office.

Depending on their individual circumstances, some applicants may be invited to an interview to review their eligibility before a visa decision is made by the Home Office.

Graduate Trainee visa fees

Graduate Trainee visa application fee is £259 per person . Other costs include Biometric fee £19.20 and Immigration healthcare surcharge: £624 (this allows the applicants access to the National Health Service while in the UK).

How long can you stay in the UK with a Graduate Trainee visa?

Graduate Trainee visa holders are normally permitted to stay in the UK for up to 12 months only (depending on the length of employment).

Under the immigration rules, those who have already been in the UK on one or more of the following visas can stay in the UK for a maximum of 5 years in any 6-year period:

Can you extend a Graduate Trainee visa?

It is not possible to extend a Graduate Trainee visa. However, there is nothing to stop you from submitting a new Graduate Trainee visa application from outside the UK. Most people who wish to stay for longer will switch to a different type of visa (e.g. a Skilled Worker visa) during their stay.

Graduate Trainee visa dependants

Graduate Trainee visa holders can bring their dependant family members to the UK to be with them. Dependants can remain in the UK as long as the Graduate Trainee visa holder remains here. Dependent family members include:

  • husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried partner (if unmarried, you must have been in a relationship with your partner for at least 2 years)
  • children under the age of 18
  • children over the age of 18 if they are dependant on you and not living a fully independent life.

Family members applying from outside the UK must submit their own application as the main applicant’s partner4 or child5. The unique application reference number of the main applicant should be included to ensure all applications are processed together. To apply for a visa, dependant family members will also need to prove their identity, pay the required application fees, and submit any documents requested.

Can a Graduate Trainee visa lead to ILR?

Unfortunately, there is no direct pathway for Graduate Trainee visa holders to ILR. It is, however, possible for those wishing to settle to apply for a different visa type before their visa expires. Some of the main visas which provide a direct route to ILR are as follows:

In most cases, you will be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after living in the UK for 5 years with a qualifying visa.

To check which visas will provide a pathway to settlement in the UK for you and your family members, speak to our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or by email at info@reissedwards.co.uk.

References

1 GOV.UK: Eligible occupation codes

2 GOV.UK: Going rates for eligible occupations

3 GOV.UK: Online application form

4 GOV.UK: Dependant partner form

5 GOV.UK: Dependant child form

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"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...

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Kiran Sardar

"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

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Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...

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