The UK Government is opening a new visa route – the UK High Potential Individual Visa – in May 2022. For this category, you don’t need a job or sponsorship to apply. The application will open on 30th May 2022.
About UK High Potential Individual Visa (HPI)
The High Potential Individual route is a new immigration route which aims to deliver the UK Government’s commitment in the Plan for Growth to “introduce an elite points-based route to attract the brightest and best to the UK to maintain our status as a leading international hub for emerging technologies”.
Opening on 30 May 2022, the UK High Potential Individual visa route will be available to recent graduates of leading overseas universities who wish to work, or look for work, in the UK.
Unlike the existing Skilled Worker route and the forthcoming Scale-up route, opening on 22 August 2022, the High Potential Individual route is not a sponsored route. So, graduates do not need a job offer for an eligible skilled job in the UK from a Home Office-approved sponsor. While the route will be open to overseas graduates with a UK job offer, it will also be available to graduates who have no current job offer in the UK and who simply wish to look for work (any type of work) in the UK.
The High Potential Individual route will not lead directly to settlement in the UK. However, graduates in the UK with a High Potential Individual Visa will be able to apply from within the UK to switch into another immigration route which may subsequently lead to settlement. High Potential Individuals may also migrate to UK with a partner and dependent children.
How is the HPI visa different from graduate visas?
The key difference between the High Potential Individual Visa and the UK graduate visa is that the first is available specifically to graduates of schools outside the UK. The UK graduate visa allows people who have completed a degree within the UK to stay for at least two years after graduating.
High Potential Individual Overseas Degree Requirement
In order to qualify for a High Potential Individual Visa, applicants need to have an overseas (i.e. non-UK) degree level academic qualification. If you have an overseas academic qualification then you will also need to check that your qualification meets or exceeds the recognised standard of a UK bachelor’s or UK postgraduate degree. You will need to provide confirmation from Ecctis that this is the case.
It is important to note the Home Office will not accept all overseas degree level academic qualifications. In order to qualify for a High Potential Individual Visa, your overseas degree level qualification must have been awarded in the 5 years before the date of your High Potential Individual Visa application. Ecctis will confirm the date on which your degree was awarded.
Additionally, the institution that awarded your degree must have been listed on the Global Universities List published by the Home Office on the date when the degree was awarded. The Global Universities List is a list of universities published by the Home Office, which is compiled on an annual basis and consists of all institutions that are ranked in the top 50 of at least two of the following ranking systems:
- Times Higher Education World University Rankings;
- Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings;
- The Academic Ranking of World Universities.
High Potential Individual Visa English Language Requirement
If you are able to satisfy the overseas degree requirement then the next step will be to make sure that you can satisfy the English language requirement.
In order to qualify for a High Potential Individual Visa, you will need to demonstrate English language ability on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in all 4 components (reading, writing, speaking and listening) to at least level B1 (intermediate).
As a recent graduate applying for entry clearance or leave to remain as a High Potential Individual you will satisfy the English language requirement if you:
- Are a national of a majority English-speaking country; or
- Have passed a Secure English Language Test; or
- Have a degree was taught in English; 0r
- Obtained a GCSE/A Level or Scottish Highers in English while at school in the UK; or
- Have already shown that you met the requirement, of level B1, in a previous successful application for entry clearance or permission to stay.
Aside the degree and English language requirement, you also need to meet a financial requirement. You you will generally need to have cash funds of at least £1,270 available. You will need to have held the money for at least 28 days ending on a date this is not more than 31 days before the date of your High Potential Individual Visa application.
There is an exception to the financial requirement for individuals who have been in the UK with permission for 12 months or more at the date of application and who are applying to extend into the High Potential Individual Route. Such individuals will automatically meet the financial requirement and will not need to show funds.
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