Bridge Partners

GBM – Graduate Trainee Visa

You can apply for a Skilled Worker visa to work in the UK in an eligible job with an employer licenced as a sponsor by the UK government.

Can I apply for the UK Skilled Worker visa?

We can help you. It’s what we do.

Overview

You can apply for a Skilled Worker visa to work in the UK in an eligible job with an employer licenced as a sponsor by the UK government. This UK work visa has replaced the Tier 2 (General) work visa. This category is for all foreign nationals who have been offered a skilled job to fill a gap in the workforce which cannot be filled by an already settled worker in the UK. There are a number of complex scenarios which should be discussed and explored in detail before you can apply.

You can apply for a Skilled Worker visa to work in the UK in an eligible job with an employer licenced as a sponsor by the UK government. This UK work visa has replaced the Tier 2 (General) work visa. This category is for all foreign nationals who have been offered a skilled job to fill a gap in the workforce which cannot be filled by an already settled worker in the UK. There are a number of complex scenarios which should be discussed and explored in detail before you can apply.

International Sportspersons visa

This category is for highly skilled sportspersons who must be recognised by a governing body as an elite sports person or a sports coach. The applicant must demonstrate that their employment in the UK will encourage the sport to become more elite and prominent in the UK.

To apply for ILR you must have spent continuous period of 5 years in the UK and must have spent no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 months. You must also meet the English language requirement, pass the Life in the UK test and meet the salary threshold requirement of at least £35,800.

Indefinite leave to remain

The skilled worker visa lasts for up to five years. If you want to stay longer, you can apply to extend your, as long as you still meet the eligibility requirements. After five years, you may also be entitled to apply for indefinite leave to remain, which gives you the right to live, work and study in the UK for as long as you like. You must apply to extend or update your skilled work visa UK if you change jobs or employer.

To apply for ILR you must have spent continuous period of five years in the UK and must have spent no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 months. You must also meet the English language requirement, pass the Life in the UK test and meet the salary threshold requirement of at least £25,600 per year.

What is the Graduate Trainee Visa?

The Graduate Trainee Visa is one of the five Global Business Mobility (GBM) immigration routes that have been introduced by the UK government. This visa is designed for overseas workers who are keen to transfer to the UK by their employer for a work placement in the UK as part of a graduate trainee course, which will lead to a senior managerial or specialist role. However, it should be noted that this visa route does not lead directly to settlement in the UK, but you may be able to switch into another visa route that does enable settlement.  

Who can apply for the Graduate Trainee Visa?

To be eligible for the Graduate Trainee Visa, you must be currently working for a business or organisation that is linked to your UK sponsor by common ownership or control, for at least 3 months immediately before the date of your visa application.  

It’s important to reinforce that this 3-month period of work must be continuous with no breaks must not include time spent working in the UK.  

What are the requirements?

To qualify for a Graduate Trainee Visa, you will need to satisfy the UK Home Office of the following requirements: 

  • You are aged 18 or over. 
  • You are working for a business or organisation that is linked to your UK sponsor by common ownership or control and can prove that you have worked for this business or organisation for at least 3 months immediately before the date of your visa application.  
  • You have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship issued by your UK sponsor for the job that you intend to do (this will need to be issued by an employer that is authorised by the Home Office) 
  • Your job meets the genuine requirements. 
  • Your job is skilled to at least RQF Level 6 (graduate equivalent). 
  • You will be paid a salary which equals or exceeds £24,220 per year and 70% of the pro-rated going rate for the occupation (whichever is higher) 
  • You have sufficient funds to support yourself without relying on public funds. 
  • If required, you have provided a valid TB certificate.  

What is the Graduate Trainee Visa processing time?

Once you have submitted your application online, proved your identity and provided the necessary documents, you can expect to receive a decision on your visa within 3 weeks. Please note, that if you wish to get a faster decision on your visa, then this is possible through a fast-tracking process – this is something that we can confidently assist you with.  

You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the day you are due to start work in the UK – this date is listed on your certificate of sponsorship.  

How to apply for a Graduate Trainee Visa?

To successfully apply for a sponsor licence, as a business you will be required to complete the following steps: 

  1. You need to decide which categories/tiers you intend to include on your licence. 
  1. Be able to assess your eligibility and suitability for each category/tier that you decide – also, make any relevant adjustments to your HR system. 
  1. Decide who will be ‘Key Personnel’. 
  1. Effectively collate the documents so that they are ready for submission with the application. 
  1. Decide on how many Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) you intend to request for your first year of the licence.  
  1. Complete and submit the online application and required, supporting documentation to the Home Office. 
  1. Where applicable, prepare for and attend the Home Office site visit to the organisation’s offices. 
  1. Wait to hear back from the Home Office, on a decision for your application.  

 

As mentioned previously, there is supporting documentation which will be required along with the submission of your online application. However, depending on the type of organisation and how long it has been operating in the UK, the documents could include (but are not limited to): 

  • Employer’s liability insurance certificate 
  • Latest audited annual accounts 
  • Certificate of VAT registration 
  • HMRC registration evidence – such as including PAYE number and accounts office reference number. 
  • Latest corporate bank account statement 
  • Evidence of ownership of, or even a commercial lease for, business premises. 

What are the fees for a Sponsor Licence?

As part of the sponsor licence application process, the employer will be required to complete the sponsor licence form – the fee for this will depend on the size of the organisation. Please see further for details. 

Generally, for a small business the sponsor licence fee will be £536. To meet this criteria, a company will typically meet two of the following in its financial year: 

  • A turnover of no more than £10.2 million. 
  • A balance sheet total of not more than £5.1 million. 
  • It employs no more than 50 employees. 

Whereas, for larger businesses the sponsor licence fees can be £1,476. This will be applicable to any other organisation that does not meet the criteria for, or is exempt from, the small company regime. 

How long is a Sponsor Licence valid for?

A sponsor licence is valid for a period of 4 years once they are issued to the business, at which point employers are required to apply for a renewal. This is the responsibility of the business to ensure that this is done, to ensure that they are meeting the compliance requirements of managing a sponsor licence.  

How long does it take to apply for a Sponsor Licence?

It’s important to note from the outset, that there are multiple stages to a sponsorship licence process and therefore, timing is crucial in ensuring you progress through the application effectively. For instance, if you are applying for your first licence, you will be required to allow for up to 8 weeks for the application, before it’s processed.  Typically, the licence application decisions will generally take about 4-6 weeks. 

Moreover, other factors such as opting for a priority application service would make it quicker to receive a decision on the application, typically within ten working days – this would require you to pay an additional £500. 

Furthermore, there may be additional factors that could also affect the processing time of your application, which include: 

  • Pre-licence compliance visit – this is more common for smaller employers and those organisations that the Home Office may deem to be ‘high risk’. By the time the inspection report is written, and the application is progressed, it can take a further 6-8 weeks. 

 

  • Supporting documents – as mentioned previously, due to the strict nature of the sponsor licence, the supporting documents must be certified and accurate when submitted. More importantly, they should be sent to the Home Office within 5 working days of the online form being submitted, otherwise there is a high chance that the application will be rejected. 

 

  • Availability of key personnel – the appointed authorising officer must be available to sign the submission sheet that will accompany the supporting documentation, that will be sent to the Home Office. Again, it is expected to be done within 5 working days of the online submission form.  

 

  • Processing of sponsored worker’s application – once the licence has been granted and the CoS has been assigned, the sponsored worker has 3 months to submit their visa application to the Home Office. Please note, that overseas applications can take up to 3 weeks after the visa interview, or up to 5 working days using the priority service. On the other hand, visa applications that are made in-country from within the UK, can take up to 8 weeks after the BRP appointment.  

How can Bridge Partners Immigration help?

The sponsor licence application process is a mandatory, yet crucial step for you as an employer to successfully obtain a sponsor licence and allow you to sponsor skilled overseas workers. As such, the team at Bridge Partners Immigration have extensive experience in dealing with sponsor licence applications and advising clients on the different stages of the process – from the preparation of the sponsor licence application form to determining whether any areas of your application need strengthening.  

Our immigration specialists are equipped with both the knowledge and patience to help guide you throughout the process of obtaining your sponsor licence. We understand and value how complex this can be, especially under such a pressurised time frame, but we are confident that we can assist you with this application. Please do not hesitate to contact us today to find out more. 

Frequently Asked Skilled Worker visa​ Application Questions

Someone can be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa if they have a job offer from a sponsoring company in the UK for a job that is on the list of skilled worker occupations. In addition, the skilled worker must have the required skills and experience to undergo the role in the company and have the required level of English language ability.   

The minimum salary for the Skilled Worker visa is either £25,600 per year, £10.10 per hour or the “going rate” for the particular occupation code, whichever is highest. For each job on the Home Office occupation list, there is a “going rate” which details the recommended annual and hourly salary that an individual must earn for the role. The rates are based on a 39-hour week of work. Those applying for the Skilled Worker visa need 50 points to do so. These are gained from sponsorship, skill level and English language requirements. However, 20 further tradable points can be given to those that meet the minimum salary requirement. 

You cannot move to the UK without a job offer from a company that has a UK sponsor licence, unless you apply for the Global Talent visa where this is not a requirement. When you are applying for a Skilled Worker visa you must provide a certificate of sponsorship reference number which proves that you have a job offer and therefore permission to work in the UK with a registered sponsor.  

The general Skilled Worker visa requirements are that you must have a job offer from a company that is a UK-registered sponsor and have a certificate of sponsorship that confirms that you have permission to work in the UK within a specific job role. You must be paid the required minimum salary for the occupation, have the required skill level and English language ability to do the job and have enough funds to support yourself in the UK.   

Once all the correct documentation has been submitted, it takes around 3 weeks for an application for a Skilled Worker visa to be processed by the Home Office when applying outside of the UK. For applications within the UK, the standard processing time is 8 weeks, although this can take around 9 weeks on average.  

For the Skilled Worker visa, you will need to provide a valid passport and proof that you have a job in the UK with details about your job role, salary, and employer information. You will also need the reference number for your certificate of sponsorship which proves that you have an approved job offer with a registered UK sponsor. In addition, you will need to provide bank statements that show you are able to support yourself in the UK and proof of the required qualifications needed for the role such as an English language test and degree certificate.

Yes, you can study whilst on a Skilled Worker visa. There is no restriction on the number of hours you can study as long as it does not interfere with your work. Another requirement is that workers who study must first get an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate for their studies and present it to the education provider.  

Skilled Workers are not allowed to run their own businesses.