Most non-European Economic Area (EEA) national interns will be present in the United Kingdom on either a Tier 5 sponsored visa or a Tier 4 (General) student visa. Businesses must ensure that the correct documentation is retained for each individual to satisfy both the right to work regulations and the sponsoring body's requirements.

Interns present in the United Kingdom on Tier 4 visas can work full time during holidays only. These dates should be monitored and the appropriate records retained. Tier 5 sponsors require extensive documentation to be produced both during and at the end of the internship programme. To guarantee compliance, it is important that all necessary documents are retained.

In many cases, businesses may wish to re-hire an intern as a graduate, either immediately or the following year. Those in the United Kingdom on Tier 5 visas will have to leave the United Kingdom to be able to obtain a Tier 2 visa (if eligible) to allow employment. The business will also have to advertise the role ('milkround' provisions are available) and obtain a restricted certificate of sponsorship. This process can take several months to complete.

Interns present in the United Kingdom on a valid Tier 4 (General) student visa may be able to switch to the Tier 2 (General) visa, if they meet the relevant criteria.


Most non-EEA national graduates join businesses on a Tier 2 (General) visa. It is critical that visa expiry dates are monitored so that necessary extension applications are submitted in time. In addition, it is vital to track the dates when these individuals advance from the graduate programme into employment. The new role details must be carefully evaluated and all Home Office records updated accordingly, through either a change of circumstances report or a change of employment application. The latter may require the role to be advertised.

Some graduates start work on Tier 4 (General) visas if they have not received their final university results. Employers must make sure that these individuals work full time outside of term time only and that a Tier 2 application is submitted as soon as the requirements are met.

Businesses must ensure that the correct right to work documents are retained for each graduate, depending on nationality and immigration status. The end of the graduate and intern season is a good opportunity to check records and start to plan for the next employee intake.

For further information on this topic please contact Anita Ofis at Magrath LLP by telephone (+44 20 7495 3003) or email ( The Magrath LLP website can be accessed as

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