UK Training and Work Experience Scheme (TWES)

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The Training and Work Experience scheme or TWES visa service allows an organization to bring in a non-EU citizen for the purposes of training towards a professional or specialist qualification, or practical work experience, on the basis that the candidate will return to the organization’s office in their home country to utilize the experience gained while working in
the UK.

A TWES permit will only be granted to a person who is engaged in a capacity additional to the normal staffing requirements of the employer. Once a TWES application is successfully processed, an applicant will need to apply for entry clearance to come to the United Kingdom.

Employers can quickly establish whether they qualify by visiting the Global Visas online assessment tool.

Benefits

The TWES visa immigration programme is intended as a route through which staff members from overseas can have access to training and skills in the UK, which would otherwise be unavailable to them. The scheme allows such candidates to obtain a professional qualification with the intention of returning to their home country to employ the new skills and experience. In addition, British based companies with overseas branches may benefit from applying for the Training and Work Experience Scheme by being able to train their overseas staff in Britain.

Duration

The duration of the TWES permit depends on the length of time requested by the sponsoring company, and is also at discretion of the Home office. An initial permit for the purpose of training can be granted for up to five years, while an initial permit for work experience can be issued for up to two years.

TWES is not intended as a route to settlement in the UK and unlike other business immigration services such as the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme or HSMP TWES does not create a path towards Indefinite leave to remain in the UK (ILR), usually known as permanent residency in the UK.

Applicants must intend to leave the UK on completion of their training or work experience. Furthermore, they will not be eligible for a further TWES visa or a work permit until they have spent a period of up to two years abroad using the skills they gained in the United Kingdom.

Training Permits

Permits issued under the training element of the scheme are designed for people coming to Britain from a developing country to benefit from training, which would otherwise be unavailable to them in their own country. Coming from a developing country is not a fixed requirement and in most cases, it is possible for candidates who do not come from such a country to satisfy the criteria.

Training should lead to a recognised professional qualification or in some circumstances a specific occupational skill. In all cases, the training provided must be of use to the candidate in their home country once they return.

Eligibility

Position

The position for which the TWES permit is sought must meet NVQ level 3 and above. If the training and work experience candidate works in a profession they may be required to be registered with the governing body of that profession. For example, a doctor must be GMC registered.

Education

The candidate must be able to satisfy one of the following criteria:

  • A relevant degree.

  • A non-relevant degree and one year of experience.

  • No degree but three years of relevant experience.

In addition, candidates must be aged between 18 and 54 years and the work undertaken must constitute 30 hours per week or more.

Employer Requirements

In order to offer training under the TWES scheme, employers must be able to carry out the proposed training, they must be registered with the relevant professional body and must provide both a fixed duration for the training and an itinerary including dates. Like UK work permits, TWES applications are employer led. Employers must make the application for each candidate and must ensure that applicants undergoing training receive appropriate wages and conditions. However, in contrast to a UK work permit, they must be taken on in addition to existing staff.

The purpose of a training permit under TWES is not to fill a vacancy but to provide training to the individual. Candidates will be obliged to return to their home country once training is completed and must then spend a period of time outside the United Kingdom before they will be permitted to re-enter the country through a conventional working permit. If the TWES visa was granted for less than 12 months then a 12-month period outside Britain is mandatory. If the TWES duration exceed 12 months, two years outside Britain will be required. It is not permitted to switch from TWES to work permits.

Work Experience Scheme

The work experience side of TWES grants a visa to applicants, which usually lasts for one year, although on occasion visas for two years are granted.

The eligibility requirements for both employer and candidate are the same as those for the training scheme however, the age range in this case is 18 – 35. Once more TWES obliges a successful applicant to return to their home country when their period of work experience is completed.

Spouse and Dependent Immigration

Spouse immigration is permitted under TWES and the spouse, unmarried partner, or dependant children of a permit holder may come to Great Britain for the same period granted to the permit holder, provided that the latter can support them without recourse to public funds. Unlike a marriage visa or De Facto Visa, family immigration under this route is a temporary arrangement and would not lead to a grant of Indefinite Leave to Remain.

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