The novel High Potential Individual visa is targeted toward graduates from top worldwide universities who envision sharing their talents and expertise inside the UK.
This is a visa programme that was devised with the express purpose of facilitating synergic working relationships between highly qualified migrants, the UK, and UK employers, in the hopes that each party may reap benefits. With the aid of this High Potential Individual visa, UK companies are able to hire global talents that could assist in catapulting their status from underdogs to leaders in their respective fields. In turn, the UK economy would become stronger as a result.
If you wish to know whether you fulfil the High Potential Individual visa eligibility criteria or not, keep reading below.
What Are the Eligibility Requirements for an HPI Visa
To be eligible for a High Potential Individual visa, you ought to make sure you meet the following conditions:
- You’re 18 years old or older
- You obtained a degree from a leading university among the ones listed in the UK Home Office’s Global Universities List within the past five years
- You can read, write, and speak English at a level equivalent to at least B1 (or IELTS 4.0);
- You have the necessary funds to sustain yourself without the aid of public funds
- You have paid the respective application fees
- You were not previously granted a permit under a High Potential Individual visa, a Graduate visa, or a Student Doctorate Extension Scheme
- You have a valid tuberculosis test certificate, whenever applicable.
Let’s now go over the most relevant aspects of this requirements list.
Definition of “Top University”
The UK Home Office issues a Global Universities List in November of each year. The rankings utilized as references for drafting the list include the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, The Academic Ranking of World Universities, and the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings.
For proper eligibility assessment, the immigration officer would have to take into account the list issued during the same year that your degree was awarded. If the awarding university appeared on that year’s issue, it’s understood that the candidate satisfies the prerequisite.
Furthermore, the university under review must be an overseas university. Graduates from UK universities must seek alternative visa routes, such as the Graduate visa.
As for the qualifications, they must be examined by Ecctis in order to ensure that they meet or exceed the UK standards for either a bachelor’s, postgraduate, or doctorate degree.
Various paths may be followed for the express goal of demonstrating that you meet the language requirement. The most expeditious way to prove that you master the English language is by showing that you’re a national from a mostly English-speaking country.
If you’re not eligible according to nationality, your other available options include the following:
- A passed Secure English Language Test
- An awarded degree taught in English
- A GCSE, A-Level or Scottish Higher in English
- A successful application in the past that also required a B1 (or superior) level of English
This criterion is not dependent upon the subjective appreciation of neither the applicant nor the immigration officer. To substantiate your capability of supporting yourself financially, you would have to show that you have had at least £1,270 available in your bank account for at least 28 days within the 31 days prior to filing your application.
The amount specified above would increase if you decide to take your partner and/or children with you. These would be the additional amounts that must be reflected on your bank account (or your partner’s):
- £285 in the case of your partner
- £310 for the first child
- £200 per subsequent child
Also, you must have paid the following fees:
- £210 for Ecctis qualification check
- £715 for the application proper
- £624 per year, corresponding to the healthcare surcharge
The healthcare surcharge must be paid in its entirety when you apply. Thus:
- If you are eligible for a 2-year stay, you must pay £1248.
- If qualified for a 3-year stay, the amount would increase to £1,872.
If you land a job in public sector healthcare, you could file a refund request. Your dependents may also apply for a refund if you’re entitled to one.
No Prior Visa
As said earlier, you may not apply for this visa if you were already under the same visa, a Graduate visa, or a Student Doctorate Extension Scheme. This is also the case if you had permission as a short-term student, domestic worker, seasonal worker, or had an irregular migration status.
If under any other immigration categories, you could opt for the UK HPI visa as a means to extend your stay. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll not be able to extend your HPI visa beyond the initially approved period, albeit you would be able to get under another visa (e.g., as a Skilled Worker) and, as enough time passes, you could eventually apply for a settlement or indefinite leave to remain, which will enable you to establish permanent residence in the UK.
A Valid TB Test
If you are submitting your petition from one of the countries deemed “high-risk” by the Home Office, you would need to take a tuberculosis (TB) test at a clinic that’s recognized by the immigration authority. If the country from where you are applying for the HPI visa doesn’t have an approved clinic to that effect, you’ll have to get tested at an approved clinic located in a neighbouring country.
Allowances Under a High Potential Individual Visa
If the immigration bureau decides that you are eligible for an HPI visa, you are allowed to remain in the country for the following periods:
- 3 years if you earned a doctoral degree or PhD
- 2 years if you were awarded lower degree qualifications
During your stay, you may:
- Work as self-employed or under an employer
- Switch jobs
- Study (only if the course is not subject to a student visa)
- Perform voluntary work
- Travel from and to the UK
On the flip side, you are barred from:
- Playing sports at a professional level
- Soliciting public funds or pensions
How Long Does the HPI Visa Process Take?
The process could take from 3 weeks (if you’re abroad) to 8 weeks (if you’re inside the UK) until a decision is reached. These timeframes are mere estimates, but you could expect to wait longer if you were asked to submit additional documentation in the interim.
Each case is unique, and the extra requirements may vary according to your specific situation. Reaching out to capable immigration lawyers could help speed the process up, as they’re endowed with enough experience and knowledge regarding the different ways you can tilt the scales in your favour and fast-track your HPI visa approval.