The High Potential Individual Visa
The High Potential Individual visa offers recent graduates of top global universities a route into the UK without obtaining sponsorship.
On 30 May 2022, the High Potential Individual visa route will open for applications. The visa is available to recent graduates of top global universities.
One of the key advantages of the new route is that there is no requirement for the applicant to be assigned a certificate of sponsorship, unlike the Skilled Worker and Global Business Mobility routes. This opens up the route to far more potential employers, who do not need to obtain a sponsor licence and pay the fees and comply with the reporting obligations that go with this.
Further, there is no job offer requirement. Individuals can therefore apply under this route and wait to obtain employment until they are in the UK, or take advantage of the flexibility afforded by the visa to switch between jobs during their stay.
To be eligible for a High Potential Individual visa, an applicant must meet requirements in the following categories:
- English language
The applicant must have been awarded an overseas bachelor’s or postgraduate degree qualification from a top global university in the past 5 years.
The list of qualifying universities can be found here. The university must appear on the list for the year in which the applicant was awarded their degree.
English language requirements
The applicant must be able to read, write, speak and listen in English to at least Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) Level B1.
One way the applicant can satisfy this requirement is by passing an approved test for this CEFR level. More information on approved tests and approved providers can be found in our article on English language requirements, here.
However, there is no need to pass an English language test if the applicant is a national of a majority English-speaking country; they simply need to prove their identity and nationality to satisfy the language requirement. The requirement can also be circumvented if the applicant has a degree taught in English, or has obtained a GCSE, A Level or Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5 while at a UK school, provided they have proof of this qualification.
The applicant must be able to show that they can support themselves without recourse to public funds; this is normally evidenced through bank statements etc., showing cash funds of at least £1,270. The funds must have been in the account for at least 28 days, ending no more than 31 days before the application date.
Applying for the High Potential Individual visa
The visa application is made online, for a fee of £715. Applicants will need to provide support documents evidencing that they meet the requirements of the route, along with their biometric information.
Applicants may be joined or accompanied by a partner and dependent children.
The High Potential Individual visa does not lead to settlement. However, a visa-holder can apply from within the UK to switch to another route that does lead to settlement before the expiry of their leave – for example, the Skilled Worker route.
If you would like our advice on whether you might qualify for a High Potential Individual visa, or if you represent an organisation looking to hire an overseas candidate who may meet the visa’s requirements, then please get in touch with the Immigration team at FSP at: [email protected]