The UK government has announced a new visa scheme with the aim of bringing the “best and brightest” talent from around the world to the UK. Here, Alex Christen and Ellis Cummings sum up how it works.
The High Potential Individual (HPI) visa will allow an individual to stay in the UK for a minimum of two years. To be eligible for the HPI visa, individuals must have been awarded a qualification by an eligible university in the last five years. It is important to note that applicants need not have a job lined up in the UK, the HPI visa is for those who wish to work or look for work.
While there are similarities between the HPI visa and Graduate visa, the new HPI visa is the first of its kind that is available to graduates of universities outside of the UK.
Those who have been awarded a bachelor’s, master’s or post-doctorate degree from a qualified university in the last five years will need to meet an additional two eligibility requirements.
Depending where the applicant comes from, they might also need to pass a tuberculosis test.
Individuals wishing to apply for a HPI visa will need to have attended one of the universities on the Home Office’s Global University List. It has been confirmed that this list will be released on an annual basis and will include higher education institutions outside the UK that appear in the top 50 on a minimum of two of the following:
Some have criticized this approach however as the list excludes universities in certain countries such as Africa and Italy. However it remains to be seen whether the list will be widened next year.
Applicants that have achieved a PhD from a qualifying university will be eligible to stay in the UK for three years. If an applicant has a bachelor’s or master’s degree, they can stay for two years.
They can work (including self-employment and voluntary work) in any role without the need to be sponsored. They cannot work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach though. They can study as well but only if the course would not be eligible for a student visa. Visa holders will not be permitted to access public funds.
The route does not lead to settlement but the visa holder may be able to switch to a route that does allow them to stay in the UK for 5 years, and then apply to settle here.
Visa holders can however bring their dependents with them on this route.
Individuals that hold a HPI visa will not be allowed to extend their visa. However, they may be permitted to apply for another type of visa to stay in the UK, such as a Skilled Worker visa provided they meet the eligibility requirements.
If you have any question on this new route, or any other business immigration issue, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.