Intra-Company Graduate Trainee Visa
The Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route is a common way for international businesses to move their employees to the United Kingdom. As with any other visa that permits foreigners to enter and stay in the UK, this visa comes with a set of requirements that potential applicants should know about. As one might expect, the rules are stricter than for some other visas, as this permission implies the person will be working in the UK, so there is a lot to take into account.
What is the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee Visa?
The Intra-Company Graduate Trainee Visa for the UK allows workers of an eligible company to move to the UK and lawfully work at a local branch. This visa enables the applicant to stay in the country for up to a year. The visa cannot be extended, but the applicant has an option to switch to a different type of visa by the end of the one-year period if necessary.
As the name of the route implies, the applicant has to participate in an eligible graduate training programme in order to receive this visa. The visa is mainly designed for those who wish to come to the United Kingdom to work for a year, so it does not directly lead to settlement. However, as mentioned before, there is an option to switch to a different visa, which may be a route leading to settlement.
Requirements for an Intra-Company Graduate Trainee Visa
The Home Office is fairly scrupulous in reviewing applications for work visas, so it is absolutely vital to learn all the requirements in advance and ensure you comply with them before making a submission.
Some of the requirements are applied to the company, while others are targeting the employee. It can be helpful to split the requirements into different categories and review them separately in order to cover all the nuances. The categories in question are:
- sponsorship and sponsor licence requirements;
- skill level requirement;
- minimum salary requirements;
- financial requirements.
Sponsorship and sponsor licence requirements
Even though the first group of requirements does not depend on the employee, it is still important to learn and understand them in order to determine whether the employer is eligible for providing the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee visa sponsorship.
The company is supposed to act as a sponsor, which involves issuing a Certificate of Sponsorship. Without obtaining this document first, it will be impossible to receive approval for a visa, so it is a vital step of the process. To issue the Certificate of Sponsorship, the company has to be on the list of sponsors approved by the Home Office, and the certificate has to be issued according to the corresponding protocols. It is also important to keep in mind that the employee’s application for the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee visa has to be made within three months after this certificate is issued.
Skill level requirement
The route is not available for all occupations, and there are skill level requirements the person has to comply with in order to be approved. It is impossible to include all of the eligible jobs in one article, but the Home Office provides a list of eligible occupations on its official website. Applicants can contact their employer to find out the exact title and code of their occupation to check its eligibility.
In general, the applicant has to be skilled to at least level 6 according to the Regulated Qualifications Framework, although there are some exceptions. It is not necessary for the applicant to have a university degree – if the employer is willing to assign you to a position at the required skill level, the application can still be approved.
Minimum salary requirements
The job in question has to pay at least £24,220 a year in order for the submission to be approved. Additionally, the salary must comply with the official going rate for the occupation as established by the Home Office, with some exceptions where the salary must be at least 70% of the going rate.
This requirement is designed both to ensure that workers coming to the country are qualified and to guarantee they will be able to support themselves throughout the period of their stay in the United Kingdom. This is especially important, given that the holders of this visa are not eligible for receiving most types of financial aid from the UK government.
Support funds (Financial requirements)
Speaking of financial support, the last category of requirements focuses on this. Unlike the requirements covered in the previous section, this rule was created to ensure that foreign employees will have enough funds to establish themselves at the time they arrive in the United Kingdom. The applicant has to prove they will be able to afford the essentials until they start receiving salary from their employer in the UK.
The applicant has to hold at least £1,270 in order for the visa to be issued. There is an alternative option where the sponsor agrees to cover the essential expenses of the employee, and in that case, it will not be necessary for the applicant to hold the mentioned sum. The sponsor’s agreement to support the applicant if necessary must be reflected in the Certificate of Sponsorship in order for the Home Office to approve the application.
How to apply for a UK Graduate Trainee visa?
Applications are made online on the official website of the Home Office. The platform contains all the necessary instructions, so that applicants who know the requirements well and have prepared all the corresponding documents should not have an issue with the process. It is important to note that applications must be submitted from outside of the United Kingdom. People who are already in the country cannot apply for this visa or switch to it from a different visa while staying in the UK.
Documents Required for the Graduate Trainee Visa
As with most other visas for the United Kingdom, all the documents that should be attached to the applications for a Graduate Trainee visa are supposed to prove the person complies with the requirements covered in the previous section.
First of all, it is necessary for the applicant to prove their identity by providing the Home Office with a valid passport or another identification document. Secondly, the application should include basic details about the employment such as the company name, the job title, the annual salary, and other pieces of information.
As already mentioned, it is also necessary to provide the Home Office with a Certificate of Sponsorship issued by an eligible company. To meet the financial requirement, either the certificate must mention the employer is willing to cover the applicant’s expenses for the first month of their employment, or the applicant must attach a bank statement proving they have enough funds to support themselves. Additionally, the information in the Certificate of Sponsorship has to meet the salary and skill level requirements.
How long can you stay on a Intra-Company Graduate Trainee Visa?
The Intra-Company Graduate Trainee visa is issued for the period of intended UK employment according to the Certificate of Sponsorship. The duration of the employment must be mentioned in the certificate, and the visa is issued for that term plus 14 days, or for twelve months if shorter. The maximum term for this visa is twelve months, and the visa cannot be extended, but the applicant can switch to a different visa if necessary.
Switching to another visa can be a complex process, and each case should be reviewed individually. Applicants who are planning to stay in the United Kingdom after their Intra-Company Graduate Trainee visa expires are recommended to consult professionals before taking action in order to avoid any potential complications.
Сonditions of stay for an Intra-Company Graduate Trainee Visa
The conditions of stay for a visa of this kind are rather straightforward. The holder of the document is eligible to be employed at the company stated in the Certificate of Sponsorship in the relevant position. They are also allowed to study while in the country and bring dependants.
The restrictions are the same as with most other work-related visas in the United Kingdom. The holder of the document is not eligible to change jobs or take a second job. They are also not allowed to receive public funds, a state pension or other financial benefits from the government. Lastly, they cannot apply for indefinite leave to remain, as this visa does not directly lead to settlement, and it is necessary to switch to a different visa route before applying for ILR.
How much does an Intra-Company Graduate Trainee Visa cost?
There are multiple fees associated with obtaining an Intra-Company Graduate Trainee visa. First of all, the fee for the application itself is £298, and it has to be paid in advance no matter whether the application will be approved or denied. The second fee worth keeping in mind is the Immigration Health Surcharge (usually £624) which also has to be paid in advance for both the main applicant and the dependants.
Graduate Trainee visa dependants
Since the route allows successful applicants to live in the United Kingdom for up to a year, applicants are allowed to bring dependants with them. The Home Office will issue visas for partners and children of the main applicant if they are eligible. It is worth noting that the fees associated with obtaining this visa are payable in respect of each applicant, and the financial requirement can increase depending on how many family members are applying.
The visas for dependants will be issued for the same term as the visa of the main applicant, enabling the families to travel together. For dependants to be approved, it is necessary to include their details and supporting documents when completing an application on the website of the Home Office.
How can we help?
The process of obtaining an Intra-Company Graduate Trainee visa may be challenging and nuanced. For some businesses and employees, it is vital to have the application approved on time, and the team of Sterling Law will be happy to help. Our professional lawyers have years of experience with work-related visas, and we approach each case individually. We will review your case and make recommendations for your specific situation, enabling you to maximise the chances of being approved.
Our office is based in London, but since applications for Graduate Trainee visas can only be submittedfrom outside the United Kingdom, we will be happy to provide you with an online consultation. You can book such a consultation on our website, and we will reach out in no time.