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Graduate Trainee Visa

The Graduate Trainee visa is one of the Global Business Mobility routes and is designed to enable overseas workers to travel to the UK branch of their overseas employer as part of a managerial or specialist graduate training scheme.

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    What is a Graduate Trainee Visa?

    As part of a revamp of the UK visa scheme, the Graduate Trainee visa replaces the Intra-Company graduate trainee visa and is part of the Global Business Mobility Visa Scheme. It is hoped the new Graduate Trainee visa will boost skills within the UK.

    The new visa allows foreign workers who are employed by overseas businesses to come to the UK to take part in specialist graduate training programmes. Applicants for the Graduate Trainee visa route must be employed to work at their company’s UK-based operation and must be in a managerial or specialist role

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    Are you eligible for the UK Graduate Trainee Visa?

    In order to qualify for the Graduate trainee visa route you must meet a number of conditions otherwise your visa application will be refused under immigration rules.

    Before applying you need to ensure:

    • You are an existing employee of an overseas organization or company and have worked for your employee for at least three months
    • The company you work for must be a Home Office approved sponsor and be able to provide a certificate of sponsorship that details the role and appropriate occupation code
    • You must work for your overseas employer in a senior managerial or specialist role. Your job must be on eligible occupations list and must be a genuine job
    • Once you come to the UK who will be enrolled on a specialist graduate training program

    In addition, you need to ensure that you meet the financial requirements for the graduate trainee route:

    • You must be paid at least £23,100 a year (or 70 per cent of the accepted going rate for the role) – details can be found of salary levels on the Home Office website.
    • You must have access to has sufficient cash funds or personal savings of at least £1,270 to finance your first month’s stay in the UK (at least £1,270)

    How to apply for the Graduate Trainee Visa route?

    You can make an application for the Graduate trainee visa online and you must ensure you do it at least three months before you plan to come to the UK to start your graduate training course. Your start dates must be included on the Certificate of Sponsorship provided by your sponsor.

    As well as the application form you will need to provide a range of supporting documents as well as a number of associated fees as part of the visa application process

    You will need to biometric information in the form of fingerprints and a photograph. This can be done at your nearest visa application centre or you can use the official UK Immigration: ID Check app to provide the relevant information.

    Timescale of applying for a Graduate Trainee Visa

    It can take around three weeks to get a response about your graduate trainee visa application – if you apply from outside the UK.

    If you are switching from an existing UK visa to the Graduate Trainee Visa and are applying from within the UK – then it could take up to 8 weeks for your application to be processed.

    Remember to ensure you provide the Home Office with up-to-date contact details when you submit your application to avoid any unnecessary delays.

    What documents do I need to apply for a Graduate Trainee visa?

    As part of your application for the Graduate Trainee route you will need to submit supporting documentation. All of the documents must be originals and not copies. The documents must also be in English or Welsh – if they are not – then you need to provide certified translated copies with your application.

    You need to ensure you provide the following with your Graduate Trainee visa application:

    • A valid passport or another valid travel document that shows your identity and nationality
    • A valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) reference number from an employer with a sponsor licence
    • Any evidence that documents the your job title and annual salary – this can be a employment contract
    • The eligible job occupation code (This can be found on the Eligible Occupations List)
    • Evidence of your employer and their sponsor license number
    • Financial documents that show you have access to the correct level to funds to support yourself when you arrive in the UK – this can be in the form of bank statements or savings book
    • Proof you have worked for your employer outside the UK for at least three months before submitting your visa application
    • Details of the type of graduate training programme you will be attending during your time in the UK as a graduate trainee visa holder
    • A valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate – you will only need this if  your role involves researching a sensitive subject at least PhD level
    • A negative tuberculosis test result (this is only needed if you are applying from a country where this is required) and you will need to include the valid TB certificate.

    In addition, if you plan to bring dependents to the UK, you will need to ensure you provide evidence of their relationship to you – this can be a marriage certificate or a birth certificate.

    How long is the Graduate Trainee Visa valid for?

    Under the Graduate Trainee visa you are permitted to stay in the UK for up to 12 months or for the time detailed on your Certificate of Sponsorship.

    The visa rules mean you are not allowed to extend your visa during your time in the UK but are apply to return to your home country and apply for another Graduate Trainee visa in the future.

    Immigration system rules allow foreign nationals to stay in the UK for a maximum total period of five years in any six-year period under the following UK visas:

    • Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa (now expired)
    • Intra-company Transfer visa (now expired)

    and/or any of the UK visas under the Global Business Mobility routes

    What does the Graduate Trainee visa allow?

    If you are coming to the UK with a Graduate Trainee visa you are permitted to do the following during your time in the country:

    • Work for your UK sponsor under the job described in their Certificate of Sponsorship doing the role permitted by the most appropriate occupation code
    • Study
    • Volunteer
    • Travel in and out of the United Kingdom
    • Sponsor any eligible family members for dependant visas

    However, you are not allowed to do any of the following while in the UK on a Graduate Trainee visa:

    • Apply or access public funds or a State Pension
    • Change jobs
    • Be employed in in a second job
    • Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain status

    How much does it cost to apply for a Graduate Trainee Visa?

    Visa applicants will need to pay the following fees for a Graduate Trainee Visa:

    • Visa application fee: £259
    • Immigration healthcare surcharge fee – this is currently £624 per year

    If you have a dependent coming with you to the UK then you will also need to cover the cost of your partner or child applying.

    You will also need to ensure you meet the financial requirements of the graduate trainee visa. This means you will need to have at least £1,260 in your bank account for at least 28 consecutive day within the 31 days of making your graduate trainee visa application. However, this graduate trainee visa requirement can be waived if your UK sponsor is willing to cover your initial living costs. If they are willing to do so then you will need to include a letter from the company providing your work placement confirming this.

    How can we help?

    Our immigration lawyers in London offer professional and confidential help for all your UK immigration needs.

    As a part of our services, we offer:

    • UK visa application guidance and eligibility check;
    • Comprehensive advice on filling your application forms;
    • Liaison with the Home Office until your case is solved;
    • Immediate help for those who are facing problems with coming to or staying in the UK;
    • Support with any application for entry clearance, leave to enter or remain, or residence permits;
    • Dedicated immigration advice services for those who wish to apply for British citizenship.
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              Frequently Asked Questions

              A Graduate Trainee visa has a limit of 12 months or whatever the end date on your Certificate of Sponsorship says. It is not possible to extend your Graduate Trainee visa while in the UK.

              Once you’ve applied for the Graduate Trainee Visa, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within three weeks if you apply from outside the UK and within eight weeks if you are living in the UK already.

              Your partner and children can apply to join you or to stay in the UK as your ‘dependants’ if they’re eligible.

              Dependent family members include:

              • husband, wife, civil partner, or unmarried partner
              • children under the age of 18 – including children who were born in the UK during the visa holder’s time in the UK
              • children over the age of 18 living in the UK who are dependent on the Skilled Worker visa holder