What do international students need to know about the UK’s new visa option?

The UK has announced a new visa route available to graduates from the world’s top universities. This announcement of the High Potential Individual visa has given international students another route to work in the UK. The UK government said “This new visa offer means that the UK can continue to attract the best and brightest from across the globe…the route means that the UK will grow as a leading international hub for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.” Here’s what you need to know about the new route!

What do I need to know?

Home Secretary Priti Patel said she is “proud to be launching this new and exciting route as part of our points-based immigration system which puts ability and talent first – not where someone comes from”. This new visa will allow individuals from the top 50 universities to come to the UK without a prior job offer as a way of increasing global talent opportunities in the UK.

Applicants who have completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree who are successful will be given a two-year working visa, while PhD-holders can apply for a three-year visa. After this time, applicants can switch to other long-term visa routes if they meet the requirements.

To apply, graduates must have been awarded their degree no more than five years before the application date and to qualify you must have attended a university which appeared in the top 50 ranked universities. The BBC reports that “To qualify, a person must have attended a university which appeared in the top 50 of at least two of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings or The Academic Ranking of World Universities in the year in which they graduated”. The list of eligible universities from 2021 can be found here. They go on to explain that “some academics have voiced their disappointment that no South Asian, Latin American or African universities have been included on the list” however this list will be updated yearly giving new institutions an opportunity to climb up the list and while it may not be suitable for every applicant, it provides a further route to the UK for international graduates alongside the Graduate, Skilled Worker and Global Talent routes.

It's understood that the visa scheme will not have a limit on numbers and that dependants will be allowed to accompany applicants. You can work in most jobs, be self-employed, do voluntary work and travel abroad and return to the UK within the visa period before deciding which route to continue with. For further details on the High potential Individual visa see the government website, here and for more news for international students and graduates and the top global employers, register with GradLink today for more!

By Jen Garmston Published: Jul 11,2022

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