High Potential Individual (HPI) Visas are one of the new work visas provided by the UK. The applications were opened on 30th May 2022 under the New Appendix High Potential Individual Visas, and since then, they have been a popular visa choice for foreign individuals.
The UK provides High Potential Individual Visas as an unsponsored immigration route. The visa is mainly open to graduates of top global universities who wish to work in the UK without sponsorship. Through this visa, it becomes possible for academically elite students to share their knowledge, ideas, and skills to positively contribute to the UK’s economy and help the UK maintain its status as a leading innovation hub.
Eligibility for Applying for High Potential Individual Visas
To become eligible to apply for High Potential Individual Visas, you must be awarded some qualifications from an eligible international university in the last 5 years. UK has included a list of approved global universities, the students of whom can come and work in the UK for up to two years. The list of approved global universities is published by the Home Office and updated on 1st November every year. The approved universities consist of universities 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
You must ensure that your qualification is at the same level as any of the following:
- A UK bachelor’s degree
- A UK post-graduate degree
- A UK PhD or doctorate-level
If you are unsure whether you meet the eligibility criteria, you can apply to Ecctis and check whether your qualification and/or your university is eligible.
Other Eligibility Requirements
Along with the above requirements, you are also required to:
- Prove your English knowledge. This means that you are required to prove that you can read, write, speak, and understand English at least at the B1 level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) Scale. The same can be done by:
- Passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider.
- Having a GCSE (A-Level), Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English. This can be obtained by studying at a UK school, where you must have commenced study before the age of 18.
- Having a degree-level academic qualification, which was taught in English. If you have studied abroad, then you are required to apply through Ecctis to be able to confirm that your qualification is equivalent to the UK requirements.
- Prove that you have enough personal savings to be able to support yourself in the UK. This means that you must have at least £1,270 in your bank account for at least 28 days in a row (wherein day 28 must be within 31 days of applying for the visa). This requirement is not required to be fulfilled if you have already been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months.
Applications made for the visa must receive at least 70 points as per the below points attribution to become eligible for the visa:
|Global Universities List degree requirement||50|
|English language requirement||10|
Situations when you cannot apply for a High Potential Individual Visa
It is not possible for you to apply for a High Potential Individual Visa in the following situations:
- If you have already received a Graduate Visa.
- If you have already come to the UK as a Doctorate Extension Scheme student.
- If you have already applied for a High Potential Individual Visa once before.
Benefits of High Potential Individual Visa
- The time period for which the visa is provided to an individual is 2 years. However, if you are someone who has completed their PhD or any other doctoral-level qualification, then it becomes possible for the validity period of the visa to increase to 3 years.
- High Potential Individual Visas cannot be renewed once their validity period expires. However, individuals who wish to continue living and working in the UK can make an application for switching their visa to a Skilled Worker Visa or any other applicable UK visa.
- Through this visa, it becomes possible for an individual to work in most of the UK jobs and become self-employed.
- Individuals get the opportunity to live in the UK with their partner and children. However, you can bring in your family only if your family members also fulfill the eligibility criteria of High Potential Individual Visas, through their separate applications.
- Through the High Potential Individual Visa, it is possible to come to the UK on a visa and then find a job. Therefore, it is not necessary for anyone to have a job offer in hand at the time of applying for the High Potential Individual Visa.
Documentation Required to Apply for High Potential Individual Visas
You are required to submit the following documents, as requested by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), as part of your visa application:
- A valid passport or other travel document.
- Proof of your English knowledge.
- A statement from Ecctis, once you have checked the eligibility of your qualification.
- Bank statement showing that you have held £1,270 in savings for at least 28 days before applying.
Additionally, if you have also applied to Ecctis and received confirmation that your qualification has been taught in English, you are required to submit an “Academic Qualification Level Statement and English Language Proficiency Statement” with your application.
Apart from the above documentation, depending upon the personal circumstances of your travel, you may be asked to submit the following documentation:
- Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) or an online proof of your immigration status. This applies when the individuals are switching to this visa from another visa.
- Proof of relationship with your partner and/or children. This is applicable if you are applying for this visa along with your family.
- A tuberculosis test results if you are from a required country.
It is important to note that the document checklist may vary based on the individual characterization and circumstances of the application made. Further, if either of these documents are not in English or Welsh, you must provide a certified translation of the documents.
How to Apply for the High Potential Individual Visa?
While it is possible to apply for a visa irrespective of whether you are outside or inside of the UK, the application process differs in both cases.
If you are outside of the UK
You are required to apply online for the High Potential Individual Visa. As part of the application, you would be asked to do either of the following to prove your identification:
- Your fingerprints and photograph as taken at a visa application center (to be able to receive a biometric residence permit).
- Using the “UK Immigration: ID Check” application to scan your identity document.
The choice between the two shall be conveyed to the applicant as and when the application is made.
You usually receive the outcome of your application within 3 weeks.
If you are inside of the UK
If you are already living in the UK on a different visa, you may be allowed to switch to a High Potential Individual Visa. For this, the application must be made online.
It is important to note that the switch cannot be made if you are in the UK on any of the following visas:
- Visit Visa
- Short term student Visa
- Graduate Visa
- Parent of a Child Support Visa
- Seasonal Worker Visa
- Domestic worker in a private household visa
Further, it is not possible to apply for this visa if:
- You are in the UK on an immigration bail.
- You are in the UK because you have been given permission to stay outside of the immigration rules (for example, on compassionate grounds).
If you still wish to avail the visa benefit, you can leave the UK and apply for a visa abroad.
If you are in the UK on a Student Visa and wish to switch to this visa, then any of the following must apply to you:
- The start date of your job must be after completing your course.
- You must be studying for a PhD in the UK for at least 24 months.
You usually receive the outcome of your application within 8 weeks.
Fees for HPI Visa
As part of your HPI Visa application, you will be required to have enough money for the following:
- Payment of £210 to Ecctis to check that you have a valid qualification (amount changed to £252 if you are making the application from the UK).
- Payment of £822 as application fee.
- Payment of £624 (usually) as a healthcare surcharge for each year you will be in the UK. Therefore, you will be paying £1248 for a 2 year visa, or £1872 for a 3 years visa. This amount might be refundable to you if you are able to get a job in public-sector healthcare.
- Have at least £1270 in your bank account to fulfill the eligibility requirement.
If you are applying for the visa alongside your family, your partner and children are also required to prove that they have the potential to support themselves in the UK.
Procedure After the Application Has Been Made
Once you have made the application and your application has been processed, you shall receive an email and/or a letter containing the decision of your application. If your application is a success, you shall be provided with either of the following:
- A vignette (sticker) that goes in your passport. This is applicable if you have given your biometric information at the visa application center.
- Access to view the immigration status information online. This applies if you used the smartphone application to prove your identification when making the application.
If you are receiving a vignette in your passport, you are also expected to collect a biometric residence permit once you have arrived in the UK. The same must be done before the expiry of the vignette sticker or within 10 days of arriving in the UK.
On the other hand, if your application has been refused, the email and/or letter shall explain the reasoning behind the refusal of your application. Subsequently, your passport shall be returned to you. The same refusal email/letter shall provide you with the right of either an administrative review or an immigration decision appeal.
Eligible dependent family members
It is possible for individuals applying for the High Potential Individual Visa to bring their dependent family members along. The eligible dependent family members are:
- Husband, wife, civil partner, or unmarried partner (in case of unmarried partners must be together for at least 2 years).
- Child, if they are under 18 years of age.
- Child, if they are over 18 but still dependent on you.
The dependents are required to complete the entire process separately, including the application fee payment, having their biometrics taken, and meeting all other requirements. You shall also be required to provide additional evidence to prove that they have sufficient financial support, as follows:
- £285 for your partner
- £315 for one child
- £200 for each additional child
Introducing High Potential Individual Visas has provided a unique option for academically elite students to work in the UK. However, this visa option has restrictive conditions and eligibility criteria, which might discourage some from going forward with this visa option. The same is highlighted because only 1,342 applications were received under this visa in 2022.
Therefore, it is recommended to complete your required due diligence by considering your specific circumstances before applying for this visa.
If you’re starting or already running a small business in the UK and you’re considering the potential benefits of high-potential visas for yourself as an entrepreneur or for hiring foreign talent to work for your small business in the UK and getting them on high-potential individual visas, you can count on LegaMart for assistance. Discover the right path for your business by contacting LegaMart’s expert team today.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does the High Potential Individual Visa Count Towards ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain)?
Time spent under the High Potential Individual Visa does not count towards ILR. Further, this visa does not lead to settlement in the UK.
Is it Possible to Attend a University Under the High Potential Individual Visa?
It is possible only if the course to be studied is not eligible for a student visa.