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New visa route targeting graduates from prestigious universities widens talent pool for employers

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

The world’s top graduates in subjects such as science, engineering and medical research will be able to bring their skills to the UK following the launch of a new visa route targeting graduates from prestigious universities such as Harvard, MIT, the Karolinska Institute and Kyoto University.

The new High Potential Individual route is intended to attract those at the early stages of their careers, who demonstrate exceptional promise, providing a highly desirable and able pool of mobile talent from which UK employers can recruit.

Successful applicants will be given a 2-year work visa (3-year for those with a PhD) and will be permitted to move into other long-term employment routes. Later this year, the Scale-up visa route will follow to ensure businesses are supported during periods of growth and are able to recruit talent by enabling them to bring employees to the UK.

The visa scheme is open to anyone who has graduated in the last 5 years from a university which appeared in the top 50 of at least two of the following global ranking lists in the year in which they graduated:

  • Times Higher Education World University Rankings;
  • the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings; or
  • the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

In addition to having the eligible alumnus status, an applicant must:

  • pass a security and criminality check;
  • meet an objective English language requirement of Level B1 of the Common European Framework for Language Learning;
  • meet a minimum financial requirement of showing they have access to funds of at least £1,270, which have been continuously held for at least a 28-day period.

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