The High Potential Individual (HPI) Visa opened on 30 May 2022. The UK Government opened this new advantageous immigration route for graduates from the world’s top 50 non-UK universities. The UK Government hopes that the new High Potential Individual visa route will attract bright young individuals to the UK at the start of their careers.
The route will allow those that qualify to come to the UK to work for two years without restrictions. PhD graduates will be allowed to come to the UK for three years.
It seems like the route will not have a cap. There should thus not be a restriction on the number of individuals that can come to the UK via this immigration route.
How to qualify for the High Potential Individual Visa
To qualify for the HPI visa, you must have received a qualification from an eligible university in the past five years. No job offer is needed to apply.
The Home Office base the list of eligible universities on the rankings of universities worldwide. There are different lists of qualifying universities, depending on the graduation year. The different lists thus reflect the changes in global rankings from year to year. Your Breytenbachs consultant will be able to check whether your university is on the list of eligible universities for the month and year you were awarded your qualification.
The qualification must be on the same level as a UK Bachelor’s degree, a UK postgraduate degree, or a UK PhD degree or doctorate.
You cannot apply for the HPI visa if you already had a Graduate visa or had a visa to come to the UK as a Doctorate Extension Scheme student.
You also have to fulfil the English Language and Maintenance requirements.
English Language Requirement
To apply for the HPI visa, you will have to fulfil an English language requirement. There are various ways to fulfil the requirement.
- You can pass a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved language provider.
- Have a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification (level 4 or 5), Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English that you gained through study at a UK school that you began when you were under 18 years of age.
- Have a degree-level academic qualification taught in English.
- You are a national of a country considered English speaking by the Home Office.
When you apply for the HPI visa, you will have to show that you have at least £1,270 in your bank account. These monies must have been in your bank account for at least 28 days.
Partners and children applying to join the main visa holder must also fulfil a maintenance requirement. Your Breytenbachs consultant will be able to advise you on the amount required for every dependant.
Persons in the UK who have had a valid visa for at least 12 months do not need to fulfil the maintenance requirement.
Switching to the HPI Visa
It is possible to switch to the HPI visa from within the UK in certain circumstances. You have to apply for the HPI visa before your current visa expires.
If you are currently in the UK with any of the visas below, you will have to leave the UK and apply for the HPI visa from abroad.
- Visitor visa
- Short-term student visa
- Parent of a child student visa
- Seasonal worker visa
- Domestic worker in a private household visa
- On Immigration bail, or if you have permission to stay in the UK outside the immigration rules
Length of Stay
The Home Office will grant the High Potential Individual for two years to successful applicants. If you have a PhD or other doctoral qualification, your visa will be granted for three years.
You cannot extend your stay in the UK on an HPI visa. However, it is possible, should you qualify, to switch to another type of visa, such as the Skilled Worker visa.
Right to Work with the High Potential Individual Visa
You will be able to work in most jobs but cannot work as a professional sportsperson. You will be able to look for jobs or may be self-employed, and can do voluntary work.
The partner and children of the main High Potential Visa holder can apply to join you or stay in the UK if they are eligible.
The Home Office classify dependant partner and children as any of the following;
- A husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried partner.
- Children under the age of 18 years. This would include children if they were born in the UK during your stay.
- Children over the age of 18 years old if they are currently in the UK as your dependant.
Immigration Health Surcharge
The Immigration Health Surcharge is payable as part of your HPI visa application. If you get a job in the public sector healthcare, you may get a refund on your Immigration Health Surcharge.
The UK Home Office require a Tuberculosis test for nationals from certain countries. Your Breytenbachs consultant will be able to tell you if you need to submit a Tuberculosis test as part of your application.
Indefinite Leave to Remain
The High Potential Individual visa does not lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
To qualify for ILR, you will have to switch to another visa type, such as the Skilled Worker route.
How Breytenbachs can help you obtain your High Potential Individual Visa
Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants have a team of specialists dealing with visas such as the High Potential Individual visa. They will be able to advise you on the best suitable visa to apply for in your case and help prepare your application to ensure a successful outcome for both you and your dependants.