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New High Potential Individual Visa Route - What Does It Involve?

on Thursday, 19 May 2022.

A new High Potential Individual (HPI) visa route will come into force on 30 May 2022, allowing graduates from highly regarded overseas universities to come to the UK to look for work or work without the need for formal sponsorship.

Key Requirements and Benefits of the Route

The HPI route offers a short term work visa for graduates of top global universities in their early career. The route does not require formal sponsorship or a job offer to apply, so eligible applicants are permitted to accept work on an employed, freelance or self-employed basis in the UK. This level of flexibility is likely to appeal to many UK employers and international graduates  looking for UK work experience and flexible working arrangements.

In order to be eligible, applicants must:

  • be at least 18 years of age
  • have graduated from an overseas eligible university or higher education institution within the last five years
  • have at least a bachelor's level degree
  • satisfy the English language requirement
  • meet the financial requirement

The HPI visa will grant successful applicants with a bachelor's or master's degree a two-year visa, while those with a PHD will be granted a three-year visa, subject to conditions of leave.

The route also allows for dependant partners and children to apply with or join the main applicant. The route also permits in-country switching, so individuals, and any dependants, can consider alternative immigration routes prior to the expiry of their visas, should they wish to remain in the UK after the expiry of their HPI visa. Equally, individuals already in the UK on certain categories are permitted to switch into the HPI route. The HPI visa route does not lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain but instead acts as a 'stepping stone' into the UK workforce. The cost of the HPI visa will be £715 and applicants  will be subject to payment of the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Global Universities List

On 6 May 2022 the Home Office published the global universities list. Applicants who have graduated from an highly regarded overseas university can potentially apply for the HPI visa. The published lists covers the eligible universities over the last six years and applicants should ensure that their university is on the list in the year that they graduated in order to be eligible to apply.

The global universities list runs from 1 November to 31 October each year, so applicants awarded a degree last summer would need to look at the 2020 list, and not the 2021 list.

It is important to note that not  all eligible universities appear on the list every year, for example the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Munich only appeared for the first time in 2021. The Australian National University, Heidelberg University and Hong Kong University of Technology have not appeared on the list since 2019, having consistently appeared in previous years. The majority of universities on the list are based in the US, with Harvard, New York University, Columbia, Princeton and Stanford appearing on the list every year so far.

For further  details on the HPI visa route, please contact Talitha Degwa in our Immigration Law team on 07384813082.

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