The graduate Internship scheme in the UK is administered under Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) program 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 that acts 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.
- The maximum duration of the placement must not last longer than 12 months.
- The intern must either hold a degree or be studying towards a degree equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or higher.
- The internship role must be supernumerary and must not fit into a Tier 2 (General) occupation category; thereby not affecting the UK Resident Labour Market.
- The internship offered must be a full-time placement and the conditions of Employment in line with The National Minimum Wage Act and all other applicable legislation.
- The intern must be above 18 years of age.
- The Employer must be a UK Registered Company, Charity, and Government Department.
- Any work that the Intern undertakes must be at a skill level of NVQ Level 3 or above.
- The Employer offering the internship must have the financial and personnel resources to support and supervise the Intern throughout the period of their internship. This program is not open to employers in the Agriculture, Hospitality, or Care sectors.
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?
An internship offer from a UK company is required of the applicants. We’ll first look to see if the Internship satisfies the qualifications and, if so, which scheme it best fits within. Based on the conditions, we will suggest which sponsor/scheme the employer should join. We can then work with the company and the applicant to complete the overarching sponsor’s GAE registration process for the employer.
We will assist the employer/intern in requesting the certificate of sponsorship and then filing the Tier 5 GAE application if necessary after successful Employer Registration.