High potential individual UK visa launched

3 min read 14/06/2022
A new high potential individual UK visa scheme for graduates from the top 50 non-UK universities was launched by the UK Home Office on 6 June 2022.

Eligible individuals will not need a prior job offer to enter the UK under the High Potential Individual (HPI) route.

The High Potential Individual UK visa gives successful applicants permission to stay in the UK for at least 2 years. Graduates from the world’s top 50 non-UK universities who have been awarded a qualification in the last 5 years will be eligible to apply.

Those holding the equivalent of a UK Bachelors or Masters degree will be given permission to stay in the UK for 2 years, while Ph.D. holders will be given permission to stay for 3 years.

It is important to note that this is not a direct route to Settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain) and visa holders will need to switch to another visa category such as a Skilled Worker if they wish to remain in the UK beyond the validity of their HPI visa.

Whilst there has been no official word from the Home Office on a cap to the number of visas that would be granted, it is understood that it would depend on demand.

Eligible universities must appear in the top 50 rankings of at least two of the following:

  • Times Higher Education world university rankings, 
  • Quacquarelli Symonds world university rankings, or 
  • the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

The gov.uk site has a helpful list of eligible universities grouped by year. Of the most recent 2021 list, 20 institutions are based in the US, with other universities from Canada, Japan, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, France, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Qualifications need to be validated by  Ecctis (formerly UK NARIC).  They will confirm if the qualification is equivalent to at least a UK Bachelors degree level.

Applicants will also need to pass an approved English language test at level B1. The British Council defines this as “those who have the necessary fluency to communicate without effort with native speakers”.

Applicants will be able to bring their dependent family members such as partners and dependent children under the age of 18.

The HPI visa will cost £715 per applicant plus the immigration health surcharge – currently £624 per year for adults and £470 per year for children.

Applicants will also need to hold maintenance funds of £1,270 to be eligible for the visa.

Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, stated: “This new visa offer means that the UK can continue to attract the best and brightest from across the globe. The route means that the UK will grow as a leading international hub for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.”

“We want the businesses of tomorrow to be built here today, which is why I call on students to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to forge their careers here.”

Priti Patel, the home secretary, stated: “I am proud to be launching this new and exciting route as part of our points-based immigration system which puts ability and talent first, not where someone comes from.”

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