Graduates from the world’s top universities are now able to come to the UK under a new visa scheme

Graduates from the world’s top universities are now able to come to the UK under a new visa scheme Education Beyond Borders Podcast

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25-JUL-2022 | The United Kingdom government has opened a “highly selective” visa scheme for graduates of the world’s top ranked universities, which it hopes will enhance the UK’s skill base.

As international migration continues its post-COVID recovery, many countries are introducing immigration policies to bring highly educated foreign talent to their soil. A new scheme in the United Kingdom could serve as a useful model for nations looking to strengthen their workforces.

In order to attract high-skilled foreign university graduates, on May 30, the United Kingdom has opened a new visa pathway, named the High Potential Individual visa. Under the High Potential Individual visa, graduates of the world’s top universities will be allowed to work and stay in the UK for two or three years, depending on their degree level. Participants under the new scheme will be able to work in any job in the UK without the need for sponsorship and without graduating from a UK university, but must meet a £1,270 financial requirement to cover living costs in addition to English language requirements.

Those eligible for the High Potential Individual visa must have been awarded a degree from a university ranked in the top 50 worldwide. Qualifying overseas education institutions must appear on two of three university ranking systems selected by the British government. The three rankings that are part of this initiative are: Times Higher Education World University rankings; Quacquarelli Symonds World University rankings; and The Academic Ranking of the World Universities. Institutions likely to feature on the list include those such as ETH Zurich in Switzerland, Canada’s University of Toronto, The University of Tokyo of Japan and a range of top-ranked institutions in the US.

Applicants may hold a degree in any discipline, but it must be at least equivalent to a U.K. bachelor’s degree. Those with a bachelor’s or master’s degree may receive a two-year visa, while Ph.D. holders and other doctoral-level applicants are eligible for a three-year visa.

The new High Potential Individual visa will make it as simple as possible for internationally mobile individuals at an early stage of their careers who demonstrate high potential to come to the UK. They will also have the option to switch to other routes, which could lead to settlement in the UK. 

Insiders say the new visa scheme will enable the UK to attract the most sought-after graduates while also enhancing the UK’s skill base. 

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