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High Potential Individual Visa
The new High Potential Individual (HPI) visa was launched on 30 May 2022 as part of the government’s points-based immigration system. Under the new route, international graduates from the most prestigious universities around the world can come to the UK without a job offer. The HPI visa does not lead to settlement but the applicant can apply to switch to a different route before their visa expires. There is also no cap on the number of eligible international graduates that will be able to come to the UK on this route.
What is the aim of the HPI visa?
The aim of the HPI visa is to encourage the ‘brightest and best’ international graduates to start their careers in the UK. Chancellor Rishi Sunak stated, “The route means that the UK will grow as a leading international hub for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.” This will also allow employers to access a wider pool of talent without the expense or responsibility of sponsoring them. The HPI visa will help the UK economy by encouraging organisations to recruit highly skilled individuals who have a distinguished skillset.
What is the eligibility criteria?
To be eligible for the HPI visa, the applicant will need to meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Have been awarded a qualification by an eligible university in the past 5 years;
- Have a qualification that is at the same level as either a UK bachelor’s degree, a UK postgraduate degree, or a UK PhD or doctorate;
- Meet the financial requirement; and
- Meet the English language requirement.
However, the applicant will not be eligible for the HPI visa if:
- They have been granted a Graduate visa; or
- They have come to the UK as a Doctorate Extension Scheme student.
The list of eligible universities is based on the top 50 rankings of universities from all over the world. The list is based on institutions that are featured in at least two of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities. The list only relates to qualifications awarded between 1 November 2021 and 31 October 2022 and is compiled on an annual basis. The applicant will need to provide confirmation from Ecctis that their qualification meets or exceeds the recognised standard of a UK bachelor’s, a UK postgraduate degree, or a UK PhD or doctorate.
The English Language Requirement
The applicant must be able to write, speak, and listen to English on at least Level B1 (intermediate) on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale. The English language requirement can be satisfied by:
- Passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider;
- Having a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English, gained through study at a UK school that began when the applicant was under 18;
- Having a degree-level academic qualification that was taught in English;
- Being a national of a majority English speaking country; or
- Having proven knowledge of English in a previous successful visa application.
The Financial Requirement
The applicant needs to be able to show that they can support themselves in the UK without relying on public funds. This means that they need to have at least £1,270 in their bank account at the date of the application. They must show that they held those funds in their account for 28 days or more, ending no more than 31 days before the date of their application. If the applicant is applying for permission to stay and has been in the UK with permission for 12 months or more at the date of application, they will not need to show evidence of funds.
How to apply for the HPI visa?
The application for the HPI visa is online. The application process differs depending on whether the applicant is applying from outside the UK or inside the UK. The applicant will need to submit the relevant online application, pay the relevant fee, and provide supporting documents. Furthermore, the applicant will need to attend a biometric appointment to provide their biometric information.
How much does the HPI visa cost?
As part of the HPI visa application, the applicant will need to pay for:
- The application fee (£715);
- The NHS surcharge for each year of their stay (£1,248 for 2 years and £1,872 for 3 years); and
- Show evidence of personal savings (at least £1,270 in your bank account).
Conditions of stay
On the HPI visa, the applicant can:
- Work in most jobs;
- Look for work;
- Be self-employed;
- Bring their dependent partner and children;
- Undertake voluntary work;
- Travel abroad and return to the UK.
On the HPI visa, the applicant cannot:
- Access public benefits or the state pension;
- Work as a professional sportsperson;
- Extend their visa;
- Apply for settlement.
How can NA Law Solicitors help?
Our team of expert solicitors are here to give you advice on making a successful HPI visa.
We will help to increase your chances of making a successful HPI visa application by helping you to navigate through the complex UKVI rules to ensure that your personal and career goals are met. Arrange a consultation with us today to discuss whether you would be eligible for the HPI visa or any relevant alternatives to the HPI visa.