Internship Visa

This route is for individuals who want to come to the UK for a short period of time to share skills, experience, and best practices through temporary placements.

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Internship visa under the Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) route is a temporary work route for people who want to come to the UK for a short period of time to share skills, experience, and best practices through temporary placements.

What is a Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) Route?

The Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) category, mentioned in the UK’s Immigration Rules under Appendix Temporary Work – Government Authorised Exchange, is one of the less recognised UK visa options. This is also coined as ‘Internships’ by many as it allows short periods of work experience.

The provision is set for temporary workers whose presence in the UK aligns with cultural, charitable, religious, or international objectives, including volunteering, job shadowing, internships and meeting seasonal employment needs. This route had been the most popular post-study work experience option available to International Graduates prior to the UK government’s re-introduction of the post-study graduate visa route.

Key aspects of the GAE scheme include:

  • Length of Stay: The duration of the worker’s or intern’s stay in the UK varies depending on the nature of the work they’re here to do. Most GAE candidates can stay in the UK for up to 12 or 24 months.
  • Sponsorship: Every individual coming to the UK on a Government Authorised Exchange (previously known as Tier 5) visa must be sponsored by an employer that has been registered with an overarching body appointed by the UK Government to hold a GAE sponsor licence.
  • Dependants: GAE visa holders can bring dependants (a partner or child under 18) to the UK if they qualify as dependants and have the required funds.
  • Application: Applicants have to apply online from outside the UK.

GAE Internship visa requirements 

This route is designed for individuals coming to the UK through approved schemes. The goal of these schemes is to foster the exchange of knowledge, experience, and best practices. The eligibility criteria for the GAE route are set to ensure that only genuine exchanges take place. Potential participants must:

  • Have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for the intended role issued by an overarching body (or sponsor) that maintains an active Temporary Work – Government Authorised Exchange sponsor licence.
  • The role aligns with the requirements of an officially approved Government Authorised Exchange scheme.
  • The candidate 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 does not act as a replacement for a position in the UK workforce.
  • The role is listed in either Table 1 or Table 2 of Appendix Skilled Occupations.
  • Have enough personal savings to sustain the living expenses in the UK.
  • Ensure that the pay meets the minimum wage followed by the UK Government.
  • The application is not subject to refusal under the general refusal parameters.
  • If required, have a valid certificate for Tuberculosis (TB) test.

The circumstances may alter depending on the individual’s exact requirements. Consulting with an immigration lawyer for personalised advice is advisable.

To discuss Internship Visa under the GAE route with one of our immigration solicitors, contact us at 020 8175 4000 or email us at enquiries@citylegalsolicitors.co.uk.

Extensions, switching and settlement under GAE Route

If the Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) application is approved, the applicant will be permitted to enter and remain in the UK for the duration specified on their Certificate of Sponsorship. This duration includes an additional 14 days before and after the period stated in the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). The end date of the Certificate can extend up to the maximum duration one is permitted to remain in the UK, as outlined by the specific scheme on which the individual has come to the UK.

If an applicant under the Government Authorised Exchange Programme wants to extend their stay, they can do so by extending it to either 12 or 24 months, as allowed by the specific scheme they are on.

It must be noted that the Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) Visa does not serve as a direct route to permanent settlement. The time spent on the GAE (Tier 5) route can only be counted for 10-year residence settlements, as applicants are normally expected to leave the UK at the end of their GAE visa.

However, the possibility exists for applicants to seek a change in their immigration status from within the UK to another route if they are eligible, for example, the Skilled Worker route, which could potentially lead to indefinite leave to remain.

How To Apply for a Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) Visa?

The Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) Route is an excellent opportunity for international individuals to experience life in the UK whilst contributing their valuable skills and knowledge. This route can also be used for candidates looking to undertake internships in the UK. Each year, countless individuals take advantage of this programme to broaden their horizons and enhance their careers.

The application process for the Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) Route can be done online. Applicants must:

  • Fill out an application form.
  • Pay the health surcharge as part of the application.
  • Book an appointment at a visa application centre to prove their identity and provide the necessary documents.

How can we assist with GAE (previously known as Tier 5) visa route?

Our Immigration team at City Legal have immense experience in assisting international candidates and their employers in registering for the GAE programme. At City Legal, we work with numerous overarching sponsors and can ensure a smooth, fast and efficient process. Our Immigration team maintains a high reputation and is committed to providing clear, transparent and reliable advice to our clients.

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