This route could be a good alternative for those International Students who struggle to obtain a Tier 2 work visa and yet it is a least known route.
Graduate Internship Visa
The graduate Internship scheme in the UK is administered under Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) programme and is for International Graduates coming or remaining in the UK to undertake work experience, share knowledge and best practice and experience the social and cultural life in the UK.
The Tier 5 GAE visa is normally granted for 12 months and extendable up to a maximum of two years in the UK, depending on the scheme chosen. This route allows individuals to gain valuable professional and life experience and employers to hire the brightest candidates from overseas, see their performance and hire them permanently after. This route remained the most popular post study work experience option available to International Graduates prior to the UK government’s re-introduction of the graduate immigration route.
Tier 5 GAE Internship visa requirements
Under the Tier 5 GAE scheme, the government has approved various schemes managed by an Overarching body who act as the sponsor and issue Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) for individuals who meet the eligibility criteria.The criteria for each scheme varies; but some general requirements commonly seen in post study internship schemes are set out below.
International students studying in the UK who completed a degree in their last grant of leave will be eligible to switch from within the UK if the Internship being undertaken is directly related to the degree completed. In addition to this, the applicants also would need to meet the maintenance requirements of having £945 in savings for 90 days prior to the application. This requirement can also be met, if the applicant’s ‘A’ rated sponsor certifies the maintenance.
What is the Process?
The applicants must have an offer of internship from a UK company. We will assess initially whether the Internship meets the requirements and if so, which scheme it fits best in. We will then recommend the sponsor/scheme the employer must register with based on the circumstances. We can then work with the employer and applicant to complete the Employer’s GAE registration process with the overarching sponsor.
Upon successful Employer Registration, if necessary we will assist the employer/intern in making the request for the certificate of sponsorship and then submitting the Tier 5 GAE application.
How can we assist?
Our Immigration lawyers at City Legal have immense experience in assisting international graduates & their employers in registering for the GAE programme. At City Legal, we work with numerous overarching sponsors and can assure a smooth, fast and efficient process. We are a multi award winning law firm and pride ourselves in being approachable, innovative and always going that extra mile to make sure our clients receive the individual attention they deserve. Our Immigration team maintains a high reputation and is committed to provide clear, transparent and reliable advice to our clients.
Frequently Asked Questions
Tier 5 GAE visa can be extended up to a maximum period of 24 months; but this would also depend on the scheme that the applicant originally applied for. The time spent on Tier 5 GAE can only be counted for 10 year long residence settlement and applicants are normally expected to leave the UK at the end of their internship. Tier 5 GAE holders on an exchange scheme for sponsored researchers may switch to Global Talent visa within the UK.
The UK Home Office has set out the approved programmes under Appendix N of the Immigration Rules. Each of those schemes are managed by an overarching sponsor. Under the GAE, a sponsor could be an organisation running an approved exchange scheme, a higher education institution (for sponsored researcher, visiting academic or examiner) or a government department or agency. As such, it is not always the employer that may be the sponsor and this is permitted under the rules.