High Potential Individual Visa Application Guide
The High Potential Individual (HPI) route opened on 30 May 2022. In this application guide we look at the High Potential Individual Visa in detail, providing answers to questions such as: Who is the High Potential Individual Visa suitable for? What are the main requirements for a High Potential Individual Visa? How long can a High Potential Individual Visa holder stay in the UK? And, how can a High Potential Individual Visa lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK?
Introduction to the High Potential Individual Route
The High Potential Individual route is a new immigration route which aims to deliver the UK Government’s commitment in the Plan for Growth to “introduce an elite points-based route to attract the brightest and best to the UK to maintain our status as a leading international hub for emerging technologies”.
Opened on 30 May 2022, the High Potential Individual route is available to recent graduates of leading overseas universities who wish to work, or look for work, in the UK.
Unlike the existing Skilled Worker route and the Scale-up route, the latter of which opened on 22 August 2022, the High Potential Individual route is not a sponsored route. This means that graduates do not need a job offer for an eligible skilled job in the UK from a Home Office-approved sponsor. While the route is open to overseas graduates with a UK job offer, it is also available to graduates who have no current job offer in the UK and who simply wish to look for work (any type of work) in the UK.
Although applicants for a High Potential Individual Visa must be at least 18 years old to apply, unlike the Youth Mobility Scheme there is no upper age limit for a High Potential Individual visa and the route is also open to all nationalities.
The High Potential Individual route does not lead directly to settlement in the UK. However, graduates in the UK with a High Potential Individual Visa are able to apply from within the UK to switch into another immigration route which may subsequently lead to settlement. High Potential Individuals may also be joined or accompanied by a partner and dependent children.
High Potential Individual Overseas Degree Requirement
In order to qualify for a High Potential Individual Visa, applicants need to have been awarded an overseas (i.e. non-UK) degree level academic qualification. If you are an international student who has completed a UK degree then, unfortunately, your degree will not qualify for the purpose of the High Potential Individual Route. However, you may be able to satisfy the requirements of the Graduate Immigration Route instead.
If you have an overseas academic qualification then you will also need to check that your qualification meets or exceeds the recognised standard of a UK bachelor’s or UK postgraduate degree. You will need to provide confirmation from Ecctis that this is the case.
It is important to note that not all overseas degree level academic qualifications will be accepted by the Home Office. In order to qualify for a High Potential Individual Visa, your overseas degree level qualification must have been awarded in the 5 years before the date of your High Potential Individual Visa application. Ecctis will confirm the date on which your degree was awarded.
Additionally, the institution that awarded your degree must have been listed on the Global Universities List published by the Home Office on the date when the degree was awarded. The Global Universities List is a list of universities published by the Home Office, which is compiled on an annual basis and consists of all institutions that are ranked in the top 50 of at least two of the following ranking systems:
- Times Higher Education World University Rankings;
- Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings;
- The Academic Ranking of World Universities.
The High Potential Individual Visa Global Universities Lists for the last 6 years can be viewed below. You should select the list for the year you graduated:
High Potential Individual Visa English Language Requirement
If you are able to satisfy the overseas degree requirement then the next step to qualifying for a High Potential Individual Visa will be to make sure that you can satisfy the English language requirement.
In order to qualify for a High Potential Individual Visa you will need to demonstrate English language ability on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in all 4 components (reading, writing, speaking and listening) to at least level B1 (intermediate).
As a recent graduate applying for entry clearance or leave to remain as a High Potential Individual you will satisfy the English language requirement if you:
- Are a national of a majority English-speaking country; or
- Have passed a Secure English Language Test; or
- Have been awarded a degree taught in English; 0r
- Obtained a GCSE/A Level or Scottish Highers in English while at school in the UK; or
- Have already shown that you met the requirement, of level B1, in a previous successful application for entry clearance or permission to stay.
High Potential Individual Visa Financial Requirement
In order to qualify for a High Potential Individual Visa you will generally need to have cash funds of at least £1,270 available.
You will need to have held the money for at least 28 days ending on a date this is not more than 31 days before the date of your High Potential Individual Visa application.
There is an exception to the financial requirement for individuals who have been in the UK with permission for 12 months or more at the date of application and who are applying to extend into the High Potential Individual Route. Such individuals will automatically meet the financial requirement and will not need to show funds.
High Potential Individual Visa Immigration Status Requirement
Before applying for a High Potential Individual Visa you should also check that you have not previously been granted permission under the Student Doctorate Extension Scheme, as a Graduate or as a High Potential Individual. If so, your application will be refused.
TB Test Requirement for High Potential Individuals
All applicants for long term UK visas from countries where TB is common must be screened for active TB in the lungs as part of their UK visa application. For further information on the TB test requirement for High Potential Individuals, please see our guide to TB screening for the UK where we answer a number of frequently asked questions about TB and TB screening requirements for UK visa applications.
High Potential Individual Visa Validity Period
If your application for a High Potential Visa is approved, the period of permission you will be granted will depend on the qualification that you relied on to meet the Global Universities List overseas degree requirement.
If you relied on a Phd or other doctoral level qualification then you will be granted permission to enter or remain in the UK for a period of 3 years. If you relied on a bachelor degree or masters degree then you will be permitted to enter or remain in the UK for a period of 2 years.
Conditions of Stay as a High Potential Individual
High Potential Individual Visa holders are permitted to work in the UK (including self-employment and voluntary work) in any role, apart from as a professional sportsperson or sports coach. You will also be able to study other than on a course which would meet the requirements of the Student route. You will not be permitted to access public funds.
Extensions of Stay and ILR on the High Potential Individual Visa Route
It is not possible to apply for an extension of a High Potential Individual Visa and the the High Potential Individual Route does not lead directly to indefinite leave to remain in the UK. However, prior to your leave expiring, you may be able to apply from within the UK to switch into another immigration route which, subject to meeting the requirements of the route, will allow you to extend your stay and / or settle in the UK.
The most suitable routes for High Potential Individual Visa holders (without any family connection to a British or settled person) to extend their stay and settle in the UK are likely to be the:
Contact our Immigration Barristers
To discuss your UK High Potential Individual Visa application, or switching into a route that leads to settlement, contact our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.