UK Government launches new visa for international graduates

The UK Government have recently launched its High Potential Individual (HPI) visa to attract the ‘brightest and best’ graduates from the world’s most prestigious overseas universities to come and work in the UK.


The visa comes about following a post-Brexit immigration drive to attract overseas workers to the UK and by putting ‘ability and talent’ first, following the end of the freedom of movement for EU Nationals.

The HPI visa allows successful applicants with a bachelor’s or master’s degree a two-year work visa and are allowed to bring their families. Those with PhDs can apply for a three-year visa. If applicants wish to continue working in the UK after their High Potential Individual (HPI) visa expires, they can switch to other long-term employment visas.

To be eligible, applicants must have graduated from the top 50 non-UK universities no more than five years before the date of application. The list of qualifying universities are determined by the rule that they must appear in the top 50 ranking of at least two of either the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the QS World University Rankings or the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

The visa is currently uncapped so numbers will depend on demand. Applicants have to pass a security and criminality check and must prove that they can read, write, speak and understand English to at least level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale. The application fee is £715 with additional costs.

Pam Sidhu, Head of Business Immigration at The Wilkes Partnership comments: “The UK government recently introduced many new and modified immigration routes, including the HPI visa which opened on 30 May 2022. It is clear that the overall aim of the new UK immigration system is more and more towards encouraging highly qualified and talented individuals to enter the UK. The new graduate route is in line with this general approach. However, it is questionable to what extent this route will be taken up, as it only provides an initial foothold in the UK for two or three years, after which the individual will need to consider switching into a work or other immigration route in order to stay here long term.”

There are other visas and permits available to bring international workers to the UK.

For immigration and employment advice, please contact Pam on 07976 942 787 or email [email protected].

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