REMINDER: New High Potential
Individual visa opens
next week

On 30 May 2022, the UK is set to launch its new High Potential Individual visa. This post-study immigration route has been designed to make it easier for overseas citizens to come to the UK without a job offer if they demonstrate high potential.

The unsponsored route delivers on the government’s commitment outlined in its 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”. Successful applicants will be granted permission to stay in the UK and work, or look for work, at any skill level for up to three years.

With less than a week to go until applications open, here is a reminder of what we know so far about the High Potential Individual visa.

Who can apply for a High Potential Individual visa?

The new High Potential Individual route is open to recent graduates of top global universities. Applicants must have either a bachelor’s or postgraduate degree qualification awarded in the last 5 years from an eligible university outside the UK. Eligible institutions are listed in the Home Office’s Global Universities List. The awarding institution must appear on the list in respect of the date when the applicant graduated with their degree.

The Global Universities List will be compiled on an annual basis and consists of eligible non-UK institutions that are included in the list of the top 50 universities in 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.

What is the maximum length of stay?

How long you can stay in the UK on a High Potential Individual visa depends on the type of qualification you hold:

  • Those holding a qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelor’s or Master’s level degree will be permitted to stay for 2 years
  • Those holding a qualification equivalent to a UK PhD will be able to stay for 3 years.

How will the new route benefit employers?

A major benefit for both employers and applicants is that the High Potential Individual route does not require sponsorship.

This means that applicants will not need to hold a confirmed job offer in order to apply for the new visa, and once in the UK they will be free to work in any job, regardless of whether the employer holds a sponsor licence or not. This offers much greater flexibility compared to other work routes such as the Skilled Worker route.

Employers can also save a considerable amount of time and money by recruiting from this niche talent pool. Businesses will not need to pay any sponsorship fees when hiring workers on a High Potential Individual visa, and there are no minimum skill or salary thresholds under the route. This means that employers will be able to recruit High Potential Individuals into a wider range of roles compared to the Skilled Worker route.

However, if you wish to continue employing the worker once their High Potential Individual visa has expired, they will need to switch to another visa category such as the Skilled Worker route, if they meet the requirements. In this case, your business will also need to hold a valid sponsor licence in order to assign the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).

Help with UK business immigration

If you require advice on the various UK work routes available, Smith Stone Walters can help. Whether you are an individual interested in applying for the new High Potential Individual visa, or an employer looking to recruit skilled workers from overseas, our team of immigration experts are on hand to help. To speak to an advisor, please contact us today.

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