Following the UK government’s announcement of a new High Potential Individual visa category for graduates of top global universities in July 2021, there has been a great deal of speculation within the world of immigration law about who exactly will be eligible for the visa and what this could mean for people who were previously unable to apply under the Graduate visa category. However, the new rules in the statement of changes released on 15 March 2022 have left some people wondering whether the category will live up to expectations.
Under the new rules those hoping to qualify under the High Potential Individual category must have graduated from one of the universities included on a list of the top 50 ranked global universities within the last five years. To the disappointment of many, the universities included are largely from countries which are arguably viewed as the most ‘developed’, with nearly half of the universities being in the USA and many countries not appearing on the list at all.
Another disadvantage is that, unlike the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme and the Tier 1 (General) category, the High Potential Individual category will not be a route to settlement.
It is not all bad news, as those who find their university on the list and successfully apply under the new category will be able to enjoy the freedom of being on an unsponsored route, meaning they will not be tied to any particular job.
As well as needing to have graduated from a top global university, applicants will need to meet an English language requirement and a financial requirement to be eligible as a High Potential Individual. Those who hold a PhD or another doctoral level qualification will be granted a period of leave of 3 years, whilst those who hold other degree qualifications will be granted a period of 2 years.
Applications under the new category can be made from 30 May 2022.
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