The Home Office’s new “High Potential Individual” visa route is expected to launch on 30th May 2022. The High Potential Individual visa is specifically intended for those who have graduated from a top overseas university and wish to work or look for work in the UK. Here we will take a closer look at who can apply for the High Potential Individual visa, the eligibility criteria, and what High Potential Individual visa holders can and cannot do.
The High Potential Individual (HPI) visa is geared toward foreign nationals who, within five years of applying, gained an overseas degree-level academic qualification. The “statement of changes in immigration rules” published by the Home Office on 15th March 2022 includes the details of the visa and states,
“This route is for recent graduates of top global universities, who want to work or look for work in the UK, following the successful completion of an eligible course of study equivalent to UK bachelor’s degree level or above. The study must have been with an institution listed on the Global Universities List. The High Potential Individual route is an unsponsored route”.
This clarifies that applicants do not require a job offer in order to submit an application for a High Potential Individual visa, but they must have a suitable qualification from a top-level education establishment on the Global Universities List.
Applicants for a High Potential Individual visa must:
As this route is points-based, applicants must score at least 70 points; this is met as follows:
The Global Universities list is published on the Home Office’s website and contains all non-UK educational institutions ranked in the top 50 of at least two of the following ranking systems:
The list is updated each year based on the revised rankings in each system.
Applicants for the High Potential Individual visa must have been awarded an overseas degree-level academic qualification no more thatmn five years before the date of their application. The course must be confirmed by Ecctis as meeting or exceeding the academic standards of a UK bachelors or UK postgraduate degree. The rules also state, “The date the applicant was awarded the degree will be the date as confirmed by Ecctis”.
High Potential Individual visa applicants must meet the English language requirements. This is CEFR Level B1 or above in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Depending on their country of origin, some applicants may be exempt from the English language requirement.
High Potential Individual visa applicants who have been in the UK for less than 12 months at the date of application must show they have at least £1,270 in available funds to support themselves. This money must have been held by the applicant for at least 28-day before the date of application. If the applicant is applying for permission to stay and has been in the UK with permission for 12 months or longer on the date of application, there is no need to meet the financial requirement.
If your application is successful, the amount of time you can stay in the UK will depend on the level of your qualification. Those with a PhD or other doctoral-level qualification will be able to stay for up to three years. Those with any other level of degree will be able to stay for up to two years.
High Potential Individual visa holders will be permitted to live, study, work and seek work for the duration of their stay. “Work” includes self-employment and voluntary work, but work as a professional sportsperson (including as a sports coach) is not permitted. Visa holders are not eligible for public funds (e.g. benefits).
Importantly, High Potential visa holders cannot apply for settlement (ILR) after a qualifying period. Instead, once in the UK, they will need to acquire a different visa type that provides a direct route to settlement, such as a Skilled Worker or family visa.
The new High Potential Individual visa goes live on the Home Office website at 9am on 30th May 2022. If you need any further details on the new scheme, to check if you are eligible, or for assistance with your application, it is advisable to speak to an immigration Solicitor as early as possible.
For assistance with your immigration law matter, phone us on 0121 777 7715 to make an appointment with one of our SRA Regulated Immigration Solicitors based in Birmingham and London.
Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice.