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The Graduate Trainee visa is part of the Global Business Mobility Scheme that allows overseas workers to work in their employer’s UK branch as part of their graduate training  programme . This visa is ideal for those doing a graduate training programme that leads to a specialist or senior managerial role. There are however certain eligibility criteria that you must meet to be able to apply for this visa.

At the Nathanson Partnership, we know that applying for a visa is life-changing and we aim to make the application process as stress-free as possible for our clients. If you need help with your Graduate Trainee visa application, we are happy to assist you.

Who Can Apply for the UK Graduate Trainee Visa?

In order to be eligible for the Graduate Trainee visa, you must show that you are employed by an organisation outside of the UK and that you have been employed by them for at least three months. The overseas company must be linked to the UK sponsor company.

You must have a valid ‘Certificate of Sponsorship’ (CoS) from your sponsor, with details of what you will be doing in the UK. The job has to be listed on the eligible occupations list and your sponsor must pay you an annual salary of at least £23,100 or 70% of the “going rate” for your role, whichever is higher.

What Are the Sponsor Requirements for the Graduate Trainee Visa?

One of the main requirements for the Graduate Trainee visa is that you have a valid certificate of sponsorship (CoS) for your role that has been issued by your employer. The UK company that sponsors you must be linked to your overseas employer by common ownership or control meaning both companies must be owned by the same entity, or by a joint venture agreement.

For the CoS to be valid, your employer must be a Home Office authorised Graduate Trainee sponsor and they must have issued your CoS less than three months before you make the visa application. A valid certificate of sponsorship must also include specific information such as your name, job title and occupational code and salary.

How Long Can I Stay on the Graduate Trainee Visa?

You can stay on the Graduate Trainee visa for either 12 months or the time given on your CoS plus an extra 14 days, whichever is shorter.

You are not able to extend your Graduate Trainee visa within the UK, but you can make a new application from outside of the UK.

Can I Get ILR Through the Graduate Trainee Visa?

Unfortunately, a Graduate Trainee visa is not a pathway to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). However, you can switch to another visa type before your Graduate Trainee visa expires once you are in the UK for example the Skilled Worker visa leads to ILR.

How Can The Nathanson Partnership Help You?

At The Nathanson Partnership, we can help you apply for your Graduate Trainee visa. As long as you have a UK-licensed sponsor and you meet the requirements we’ve mentioned above, we can help you put together everything you need to show to the Home Office that you’re suitable for this visa.

We provide a full end-to-end Graduate Trainee visa service in which we advise you on the documentation you need to provide, review your application and ensure that you have the support you need to successfully get the visa.

Please contact us for a free initial assessment with our qualified and experienced UK immigration advisors.

Contact Our Expert Graduate Trainee Visa Immigration Professionals

The Nathanson Partnership consists of regulated immigration professionals providing quality immigration advice that you can rely on. We are fully accredited by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) which means that our practices must adhere to very high immigration industry service standards.

We represent a range of clients and pride ourselves on providing transparent, no-nonsense legal advice. We understand that every visa application is unique and everyone has different circumstances, which is why we give tailored support depending on your needs.

If you need assistance with your Graduate Trainee visa application, our team of specialists are here to help you.

Please contact us today on 020 3476 9523 or email us at [email protected] 

Photo by Nassom Azevedo on Unsplash


Frequently Asked Questions

Does My Sponsor Need to Pay the Immigration Skills Charge for the Graduate Trainee Visa?

No, the Graduate Trainee visa is exempt from the immigration skills charge.

How Long Does it Take to Get the Graduate Trainee Visa?

Once you apply online, prove your identity and submit the required documents, you will usually receive a response within three weeks. You may have the option of paying for the priority service to get a quicker decision depending on the place you apply.

When Can I Apply for the Graduate Trainee Visa?

You can apply for the visa at  no more than three months before the date you start working in the UK, which can be found on the certificate of sponsorship.

What Can You Do on the Graduate Trainee Visa?

While in the UK, your Graduate Trainee visa will allow you to work as per your visa conditions, do volunteer work, study, and bring your dependants. You can’t do things like work a second job though.

How Long Do You Need to Have Worked for Your Employer to Get the Graduate Trainee Visa?

You must be a current employee of the sponsoring organisation to qualify for a Graduate Trainee visa. You must have worked for your employer outside the UK for three or more months before making the visa application. The 3-month work period must be continuous, without any breaks, and must not include time spent on work-related duties in the UK.

What Is the Salary Requirement for the Graduate Trainee Visa?

Your employer must pay you a minimum salary of £23,100 or 70% of your job’s ‘going rate’, whichever is higher. The salary assessment is based on the guaranteed basic gross pay and allowances you will receive for the period of your employment or to cover additional costs of moving to the UK.

The salary rules are different for some education or healthcare jobs. Your salary must be £23,100 or 100% of the job’s ‘going rate’, whichever is higher. The annual salary base is a 39-hour work week, but must be prorated for various working patterns.

Your salary includes all your working hours, even if they exceed 48 hours a week. The relevant independent bodies set the going rate for all eligible occupations in the Home Office list.

Can I Get a British Passport With the Graduate Trainee Visa?

The Graduate Trainee visa is not a route to gaining citizenship to get a British passport.

Can I Bring My Family on the Graduate Trainee Visa?

Your children and partner can accompany you as your dependants, if eligible. Their visa will be valid until yours expires if their application is granted. You must submit proof of your relationship during the application.

A dependent child or partner includes:

  • Your wife, husband, unmarried partner or civil partner
  • Your child below 18 years, including those born during your stay in the UK
  • Your child above 18 years is your dependant and is already in the UK

Is There an English Language Requirement for the Graduate Trainee Visa?

No, you are not required to satisfy any English language requirement as a Graduate Trainee visa applicant.


If you need assistance with your Graduate Trainee visa application, our team of specialists are here to help you.

Please contact us today on 020 3476 9523 or email us at [email protected] 


Tony is our UK Immigration Partner. With a diverse knowledge in a range of industry sectors including I.T, Legal Services, Engineering, Insurance as well as the Oil & Gas sectors, he has a wealth of experience in all aspects of immigration including corporate, education and high net worth and private individuals within his portfolio.