In late July of this year, the British government announced its intention to offer a new UK Work visa targeting “High Potential Individuals” as part of a broader government “innovation strategy” aimed at drawing global talent to the country and fueling investment within it. The visa, which seeks to attract internationally mobile individuals, has no job offer required for top university graduates who seek to enter the UK. What are the requirements for High Potential Individual visa? Let’s explore what we know about this new visa category—the kind of applicants it targets, how long they can stay on it—and more, below. 

High Potential Individual Route

While the UK currently offers numerous types of work visas to foreigners who are looking to immigrate to the country, many of them (such as the Skilled Worker visa) require that an applicant have a job waiting for them in the UK as part of their eligibility conditions (as an additional barrier to would-be immigrants, the Skilled Worker has certain eligibility requirements for employers as well as minimum salary requirements). Historically, the purpose of this specific job requirement for UK Work visas was to prevent individuals from entering the country without a guaranteed source of employment—and therefore income—and becoming a drain on the UK economy. However, while this policy has certain advantages, it has also effectively prevented internationally mobile individuals from taking their talents to the UK. Recognizing how difficult it can be for foreigners—even those with exceptional talent and skills—to find and receive an offer of employment in the UK from outside the country, the British government has committed to launching a work visa without a job offer requirement that is eligible for foreigners who are exceptionally educated. Under the terms of the new route (which is not yet available to applicants) non-UK nationals who are graduates of the highest-ranked international universities will have the opportunity to apply for this “High Potential Individual” UK Work visa. 

High Potential Visa Highlights

  • No job offer required for top university graduates who apply for this visa to come to the UK. This means that someone who is approved for this visa could come to the UK without having an offer of employment waiting for them there.  
  • In addition to not needing a job to come to the UK, once they arrive in the country, High Potential visa holders will enjoy the freedom of being able to take up employment and change employment as needed, without the burden of having their visa validity dependent on maintaining their original employment position. 
  • While how long they can stay on the visa has yet to be officially established, it will ultimately provide a pathway to long-term residency and even settlement for qualifying holders. 
  • It is unclear when this visa route will become open to applicants; at the moment, the “High Potential Individual” visa remains closed to the public pending further development.  
  • By offering a UK Work visa without a job requirement, the government hopes to attract impressive individuals who would otherwise take their talents elsewhere. 

What are the requirements?

  • While the specific criteria for determining eligibility for this work visa without a job offer requirement has yet to be established, a key component is that an individual have graduated from a “top university.” While it is as of yet unclear which schools will be classified as top universities, it is assumed that the government will use some sort of internationally accepted global scholastic ranking system to determine which graduates qualify. 
  • The official text announcing the new visa scheme has also floated the possibility of allowing individual applications to be assessed more flexibly in terms of “high potential,” meaning that, in the future, an individual could meet the criteria for “high potential” without having graduated from a top university. 

For more insight into the upcoming High Potential Individual visa, contact us here.

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    © 2021 UKimmigration.co.uk