UK Internship Visa: the Alternative UK Work Visa for International Graduates

It’s not all doom and gloom for international graduates. The Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange visa route is now open to international students graduating in the UK, and has the potential to offer a great deal to international graduates – something that tends to get lost in the legitimate campaigns to turn back the clock and enable the return of a Post study work visa.

In this blog post, Migreat asked our partner from Access Tier 5 to tell us more about the Tier 5 internship scheme and how you can take advantage of it if you want to do an internship in the UK, or stay work in the UK after graduation.

International students in a park with a laptop

Open to any company and without the need to apply for a UK Sponsorship Licence!

The Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) scheme offers a smart alternative for trainee professionals coming to the UK through approved programmes that aim to share knowledge, best practice, and to experience the social and cultural life in the UK. Any company with a need for international talent can tap into that scheme.

In contrast to Tier 2, which requires the employer to directly sponsor migrant workers, Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange category does not permit employers to sponsor migrants; instead, the sponsor has to be an overarching body (the main overarching bodies can be found here). The overarching bodies is the authority qualifying the company to the scheme.

Young male student read book in classroom

Eligibility

To be eligible the applicant must:

  • intend to come to the UK for a short time (a year maximum) for a work experience or training;
  • have an employer  approved by an authorised overarching body (find out more about overarching bodies here).
  • show evidence of funds of £945 in savings for 90 days prior to visa application or have maintenance letter from an A rate sponsor.

An exciting opportunity open to UK International Graduates

Since October 2013, rules were changed to enable Tier 4 (General) graduates to switch to Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange category. This change was made to make it easier for businesses to recruit graduates with specialist skills with a view to possibly offer them permanent positions in the future; without the need to apply for a sponsorship licence at first.

To be eligible, applicants from within the UK must have completed their degrees in the UK and intend to undertake corporate internships that directly relate to their degrees, lasting no longer than 12 months.

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Every cloud has a silver lining and for international graduates this comes in the form of Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange route. For those of us who believe in the freer movement of international graduates the current system is certainly not ideal but I have seen firsthand the opportunities Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange route can provide. Although it’s not as easy as it once was, it definitely is not all doom and gloom for those wishing to work and live in the UK.

zenia-chopraThis guest blog post is provided to you by Zenia Chopra, Head of Sales & Marketing at Access Tier 5, overarching body of the Tier 5 GAE route and partner of Migreat.com.

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