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Graduate Trainee visa

Part of the Global Business Mobility scheme, the Graduate Trainee visa route allows overseas workers in a specialist or managerial role the chance to come and work for a UK branch.

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    What is the Graduate Trainee visa?

    The Graduate trainee route has been implemented in place of the previous Intra Company Graduate Trainee visa route. The Trainee visa falls under the extensive umbrella of Global Business Mobility visa routes, which were introduced the establish new connections with overseas workers and boost the UK economy.

    As part of the Graduate Trainee visa route, overseas workers can come and stay in the UK on a work placement for a British employer at a UK branch. To be accepted into the programme, the overseas business applicant must be currently employed in a managerial or specialist role. The worker wishing to apply must have been on a structured graduate training programme.

    The job role that the applicant wishes to pursue at the UK branch must be an eligible job that is part of the structured graduate training programme.

    For more information on how Birmingham Immigration Lawyers can help you with your Graduate Trainee visa query, call our friendly team of advisors today on 0121 667 6530 for immediate assistance.

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    Who is eligible for a graduate Trainee visa?

    To be eligible to apply for a Graduate Trainee visa, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

    • You must be at least 18 years of age at the time of applying
    • You must have a valid certificate of sponsorship from a UK sponsor
    • You must have worked for your current employer outside of the UK for at least 3 months prior to applying
    • You must be planning to work in a job role listed on the eligible occupations list
    • You must be paid the minimum eligible salary required for your job

    Application requirements for a Graduate Trainee visa

    If you meet the eligibility criteria to apply for a Graduate Trainee visa, both the applicant and employer must meet the following requirements:

    • The employer must hold a valid sponsor licence in order to employ foreign workers and issue a certificate of sponsorship- they must be deemed a Home Office approved sponsor
    • The applicant must be paid at least £23,100 per calendar year or 70% of the ‘going rate’ of their overseas job
    • The applicant must be able to support themselves with personal savings or other funds when they arrive in the UK- applicants are not permitted to apply for or use public funds
    • The applicant must be able to provide a negative Tuberculosis test if they are coming to the UK from a listed country

    Points-based system

    Visas listed under the Global Business Mobility route are subjected to the points-based system. To be eligible for a Graduate Trainee visa, applicants must score 60 points across three separate criteria.


    The Graduate Trainee route requires applicants to score 20 points by being allocated a valid certificate of sponsorship from a UK sponsor with a valid sponsor licence. The UK job must be proved to be genuine. Applicants must have worked for their overseas employer for a minimum of three months with no breaks. In addition, the visa application requires the applicant to have not worked in the UK before.

    Appropriate skill level

    Another 20 points can be scored for skill level. The Graduate Trainee visa applicant must be taking on a job meeting the job skill level requirement, typically, the job you are being sponsored for must be skilled to level 6 or above (graduate level) on the Regulated Qualifications for England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

    Salary requirements

    The final 20 points are awarded for a salary at an appropriate level. The Graduate Trainee visa applicant must be paid at least £23,100 per calendar year, or, the appropriate ‘going-rate’ for the occupation code they are assigned- typically, it is whichever is higher out of the two. If the amount that the sponsor is planning to pay the visa holder is under the minimum salary requirement or the ‘going-rate’, the Graduate Trainee visa application will most likely be refused by the Home Office.

    Documents required for a Graduate Trainee visa

    You will be asked to provide the following documents as part of a Graduate Trainee visa application:

    • Your certificate of sponsorship reference number- this will be given to you by your employer
    • A valid passport or any other valid document that helps to prove your identity and nationality
    • Details of your job title and yearly salary
    • Your jobs occupation code
    • The name of your employer and their sponsor licence number- you can find this detailed on your certificate of sponsorship
    • Bank or building society statements to prove you have enough funds or personal savings to support yourself when you arrive in the UK
    • Your tuberculosis test results- are only applicable if you are from a listed country

    Graduate Trainee visa applicants may also be asked to produce the following documentation:

    • Evidence that you have worked for your overseas employer for at least 3 months before applying for a Graduate Trainee visa in the UK
    • A valid ATAS certificate if your job involves researching a sensitive subject at PhD level or higher- your employer will tell you if this is something you need

    Supporting documents should be translated into English or Welsh if they aren’t already before being submitted to the Home Office.

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      Applying for and acquiring a Graduate Trainee visa comes with costs and fees which the applicant is subjected to paying should they wish to come and work in the UK.

      Application fees

      The total cost of application fees for a Graduate Trainee visa is £259 per person applying from outside of the UK. The application fee is payable when you submit the application form on the government website.

      Immigration Healthcare Surcharge

      Typically, you will need to pay the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge if you are planning to enter the UK on a visa. The Immigration Healthcare Surcharge is a fee to be paid to allow visa holders access to the UK National Healthcare services should they need to whilst living and working in Great Britain. The cost of IHS is £624 per year.

      Funds to support yourself

      When a Graduate Trainee visa holder arrives in the UK, you must show that you have enough money to support yourself without lying on means-tested benefits or public funding. You must have a minimum of £1,270 in funds or personal savings to support yourself and any dependent children and a partner during your first month in the UK.

      If your new employer in the UK will be covering the cost of your first month of living in the UK, this must clearly detailed on your certificate of sponsorship.

      Applying for a Graduate Trainee visa

      If you are applying from outside of the UK, you must apply for a Graduate Trainee visa online.

      You will need to ensure you have all of the correct supporting documents readily available with the application fee- failure to submit the correct documents can result in your application being delayed or even rejected.

      Graduate Trainee visa applicants will be required to prove their identity in one of two ways.

      You will either:

      • Attend an appointment at a visa application centre to have your fingerprints and photograph taken- if you are asked to do this, you will be issued a Biometric Residence Permit soon after
      • Be asked to use the UK Immigration ID check app to scan in the relevant identity documents

      If it is requested that you attend an in-person appointment, you must be prepared for the office to keep hold of your identity documents whilst the Graduate Trainee visa application process takes place.

      When will a decision be made?

      Once a Graduate Trainee visa application has been submitted to the Home Office, a decision is typically made within three weeks of applying.

      You can apply for a Graduate Trainee visa up to three months before you are due to begin your new job role within the United Kingdom. You can find your start date listed on your certificate of sponsorship from your new employer.

      For those who may require a faster decision on their visa application, it may be possible to opt for the visa application fast-track service. However, this will come at an additional cost, usually approximately £500 per application required to be fast-tracked.

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

      You can remain in the UK for either of the following:

      • The time specified on your certificate of sponsorship plus an additional 14 days
      • 12 months

      Typically, it is whichever is the shortest out of the two scenarios.

      The Graduate Trainee visa is not able to be extended, however, you are able to apply for an additional Trainee visa from outside of the UK, when you return back to your home country.

      You maximum stay in the UK is 5 years in a 6 year period if you have previously spent time in the UK on the following visa types:

      • Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa
      • Intra-company Transfer visa
      • Graduate Trainee visa (Global Business Mobility)
      • Secondment Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)
      • Senior or Specialist Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)
      • Service Supplier visa (Global Business Mobility)
      • UK Expansion Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)

      What you can and cannot do in the UK with a Graduate Trainee visa

      Graduate Trainee visa holders can do the following whilst they live and work in the UK:

      • Participate in the work placement specified on your certificate of sponsorship
      • Study in the UK
      • Bring your partner and children to the UK- provided that the meet the eligibility requirements to be ‘dependants’
      • Participate in voluntary work
      • Travel abroad to another country and return to the UK- for example, to go on holiday or to visit family

      However, there are certain things that somebody who lives in the UK under the Graduate Trainee route cannot do. Graduate Trainee visa holders cannot:

      • Apply for public funds (benefits) or apply for a state pension
      • Change jobs
      • Work a second job
      • apply to settle in the UK with Indefinite Leave to Remain

      How can Birmingham Immigration lawyers help?

      Applying for a Graduate Trainee visa can seem like a daunting task, whether it be determining whether you are eligible, or, collating the correct supporting documents, Birmingham Immigration Lawyers are experts on all aspects of applying for UK visas.

      We are here to help you every step of the way to offer you the best chance of being approved for a work visa, and begin a new venture in the United Kingdom.

      For more information on how Birmingham Immigration Lawyers can assist you, call our friendly team of advisors today on 0121 667 6530.

      If you have any questions about your British Citizenship application, our team is happy to assist. Contact Us

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