High Potential Individual (‘HPI’) visa
The UK Government has officially launched a new visa route aimed at graduates from the world’s top 50 international Universities. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has explained that the purpose of this visa is to “attract the best and brightest from across the globe” which will help the UK to “grow as a leading international hub for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.”
What are the key points and how could it help your business?
What is the HPI visa?
It is a short-term visa that allows applicants to work in the UK without sponsorship (i.e. they don’t need a job offer).
The HPI visa lasts 2 years (3 years for PHD or doctorate graduates) and will allow a successful applicant to work in most jobs, job seek, be self-employed, undertake voluntary work, and bring their partner and children.
HPI visa holders cannot apply for public funds/welfare or State Pension, work as a professional sportsperson, apply to settle permanently in the UK and the HPI visa cannot be extended.
What are the requirements?
- Applicants must have been awarded a qualification equivalent to the UK’s PhD, doctorate, bachelor or postgraduate degree (‘Qualification’).
- The application must be made within 5 years of being awarded the Qualification from an Eligible University (list here).
- Applicants will need to prove their English language.
- Finally, applicants must have enough personal savings to support themselves in the UK (further details of the costings are available here).
How to apply
Applications can be made online via the Gov.uk website. As part of this process, the applicant will need to prove their identify and provide supporting documents. They will usually receive a decision within 3 weeks of applying.
How useful will this be to my business?
The route will be most useful to those businesses looking to recruit leading University graduates from across the world. It will be especially helpful for those employers who do not yet have a sponsor licence or have decided that they do not want to go down the sponsorship route. Sponsorship can be costly and this route means that employers have the option to recruit high potential individuals without incurring the expenses associated with sponsorship of foreign nationals.