Britain has declared that new grads from dozens of the world’s top unis will be capable of applying for a residency permit to work and live in the U.k. for as long as 3 years even if they don’t have a job lined up first in an effort to increase its capacity to recruit talented, high-skilled workers.
The “High Potential Individual (HPI) visas,” which give applicants preferential treatment if they obtain a degree from a highly regarded university within the last five years, are the focus of the most recent modification to the UK immigration system.
The new visas are a result of Britain adopting a “points-based immigration system,” that offers foreigners several ways to accumulate enough points depending on their qualifications, employment, and education to qualify for a visa.
Graduates from institutions that have been listed on two of the following three global ranking systems—The Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, and/or The Academy of Ranking World Universities—must have received their degrees from eligible universities in order to qualify for HPI visas.
Twenty of the 37 qualified universities on the most current list are located in the US. The list includes the California Institute of Technology, three campuses of the University of California (in Berkeley, Los Angeles, and San Diego), University of Chicago, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University, Northwestern University, Princeton University, Stanford University, Yale University, and the Johns Hopkins University.
The comparatively small number of universities that meet the requirement has already received criticism. The chief knowledge officer of Times Higher Education, Phil Baty, was described by Inside Higher Education as noting that it was a “huge concern” that none of the chosen colleges were all from Africa, Latin America, or South Asia. This issue is supported by the worry that by limiting the option only to highly ranked colleges, the program favors research institutions over those with a track record of excellent teaching.
A two-year visa will be available to recent graduates with a bachelor’s or master’s degree under the new program, while a three-year visa will be available to those with a PhD. Participants who match the conditions can apply for a different form of visa when their HPI visa expires, despite the fact that visas cannot be extended.
The recipients, who must demonstrate English language proficiency, are also allowed to bring their families. In addition, they will be responsible for paying the fees associated with getting the application verified, a £715 visa application fee, and a healthcare fee that typically costs £624 per year in the UK. Additionally, candidates must demonstrate that they will arrive in the UK with enough money to maintain themselves, usually at least £1,270.