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High Potential Individual Visa Requirements and Application

Last updated on: 09/05/2022

The High Potential Individual visa enables foreign nationals without a job offer but with an overseas degree-level academic qualification recently gained from a top university to come to the UK to work or look for work. (The full High Potential Individual visa global universities list can be found here). The new High Potential Individual visa will officially launch on 30th May 2022.

The High Potential Individual scheme is being introduced as a way of encouraging individuals with high levels of ability to meet the significant demand for skilled workers in the UK. It is expected that High Potential Individual visa holders will be able to:

  • Come to the UK to work or look for work without a sponsor (work includes self-employment and voluntary work, but it is not possible to work as a professional sportsperson)
  • Bring their dependant partner and children
  • Switch to a different type of visa, which leads to permanent settlement (as long as they meet the eligibility requirements to do so)

High Potential Individual Visa requirements

High Potential Individual visa applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Hold an overseas degree-level academic qualification from an institution that appears on the Global Universities List that was gained in the last 5 years
  • Meet the English language requirements (at least CEFR Level B1 or above in speaking, listening, reading, and writing)
  • Have funds to support themselves while in the UK (at least £1,270, which must have been held by the applicant for at least 28-days before the date of application). If you are already in the UK and have been here for 12 months or more, you will not be required to meet the support funds requirement.

The rules state that applicants must not have previously been granted permission under the Student Doctorate Extension Scheme, as a Graduate or as a High Potential Individual.

Global Universities list for High Potential Individual Visa UK

Applicants for the High Potential Individual Visa must have been awarded an overseas degree-level academic qualification. The qualification must be awarded within five years before the date of your application. It must also meet or exceed the standard of a UK bachelor's or UK postgraduate degree, according to Ecctis.

The High Potential Individual visa UK universities (Global Universities) list is published by the government and is regularly updated. The list contains the top 50 non-UK educational establishments in the world that appear in at least two of the following ranking systems:

  • Times Higher Education World University Rankings
  • Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings
  • The Academic Ranking of World Universities

The full High Potential Individual visa global universities list can be found here

How long can a High Potential Individual visa holder stay in the UK?

If your High Potential Individual visa application is approved by the Home Office, you will be able to stay for up to 2 or 3 years. The exact amount of time you will be allowed to stay depends on your qualification level. Holders of a PhD or other doctoral-level qualification can stay in the UK for up to 3 years. All other degree holders will be permitted to stay for up to 2 years.

Can you extend the High Potential Individual visa?

No, the High Potential Individual visa cannot be further extended past the initial period granted. Where a visa holder in this category wishes to stay longer, they will need to apply to switch to a different type of visa.

Can you bring family dependants with a High Potential Individual visa?

Yes, High Potential Individual visa holders can bring their dependant partner and children with them to the UK. Eligible dependant family members are required to apply separately, pay an application fee, have their biometrics (fingerprints and photo) taken, and otherwise meet all of the requirements to enter or stay in the UK. The rules also state that where dependant family members are currently in the UK, they must not have, or have last been granted, permission:

  • as a Visitor
  • as a Short-term Student
  • as a Parent of a Child Student
  • as a Seasonal Worker
  • as a Domestic Worker in a Private Household; or
  • outside the Immigration Rules

Will High Potential Individual visa lead to ILR?

The High Potential Individual visa does not provide a direct route to ILR (settlement in the UK), but there may be options available to those who wish to stay in the UK permanently. In most cases, High Potential Individual visa holders who plan to settle in the UK will apply to switch to a different visa type for which they are eligible while in the UK. This application must be submitted before their existing visa expires. High Potential Individual visa holders may consider switching to a Family Visa (i.e. Spouse Visa), Skilled Worker visa, Global Talent visa, or an Innovator visa. Depending on which visa you acquire, you may be able to apply for ILR after 2, 3, or 5 years of continuous residence in the UK. If you are unsure of the visa routes open to you, speak to our immigration solicitors who will be able to explain the available routes and recommend the best pathway for your current and future needs and those of your family members. Contact us on 020 3744 2797 or by email at info@reissedwards.co.uk

High Potential Individual Visa vs Global Talent Visa

The Global Talent visa is for those who have already established themselves as a leader or potential leader in academia or research, arts and culture, or digital technology. The High Potential Individual Visa is aimed more at entry-level graduates from a top non-UK university who are yet to reach the status of a leader or potential leader. One of the main requirements for the Global Talent Visa is that applicants must be endorsed by an approved endorsing body in the UK. That said, where a recent overseas graduate is able to show they meet the criteria for endorsement, it may be possible to apply for a Global Talent visa. For example, a person with a PhD and considerable experience of research in science, medicine, engineering, or humanities may be able to satisfy an endorsing body they are a leader or potential leader. The Global Talent visa offers more advantages that the High Potential Individual visa as holders can:

  • stay for up to 5 years initially
  • apply for ILR after 5 years
  • be an employee
  • be self-employed
  • be a director of a company
  • change or stop doing their job without informing or requesting permission from the Home Office.

If you have questions regarding the new High Potential Individual visa or Global Talent visa, speak to our immigration lawyers today for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or by email at info@reissedwards.co.uk

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