High Potential Individual Visa UK From Australia

A High Potential Individual Visa (often abbreviated to HPI Visa) is a specific visa class allowing entry into the UK for those who have just been granted a qualification from one of the world’s top universities, with the view to starting work or looking for work in the country.

Total Law’s team of immigration law specialists can help you apply for an HPI Visa to the UK. Call our British office on +44 (0)333 305 9375 for more information.

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    What Is The UK High Potential Individual Visa?

    The High Potential Visa is designed to attract the recent graduates from the world’s most prestigious universities to work in or look for work in the UK. It allows for the visa holder to bring their spouse and/or dependent children with them, and is valid for a period of two years.

    Those present in the UK with a High Potential Visa must adhere to the set permitted activities during their time in the country. This visa class allows them to:

    • Work in most jobs
    • Job search
    • Work as a self-employed individual
    • Work in a voluntary role
    • Travel in and out of the UK during their valid visa period.

    However, visa holders must not:

    • Apply for any benefits from public funds
    • Apply for a State Pension
    • Work as a professional sportsperson
    • Apply to extend this visa class
    • Apply for permanent residence (Indefinite Leave To Remain) in the UK.
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      Eligibility Requirements Of The UK High Potential Individual Visa

      In order to qualify for the High Potential Individual Visa scheme, the applicant must be a recent graduate from one of the world’s top universities.

      Their qualification must have been awarded within the last five years and must come from one of the named eligible universities, which are amended annually based on their performance rankings. The institution the applicant graduated from must have been on the list at the time of their graduation. British universities are not included or considered eligible.

      Furthermore, the qualification obtained from an eligible university must be equivalent to:

      • A UK Bachelor’s degree
      • A UK Postgraduate degree
      • A UK PhD or Doctorate.

      Ecctis (formerly known as UK NARIC) will check the qualification granted is valid and judge its level compared to an equivalent British qualification.

      It should be noted that their checks are purely level-based and do not necessarily demonstrate eligibility for the High Potential Individual Visa scheme. This is a paid service.

      In addition to having a relevant qualification from an eligible institution, the applicant to the High Potential Individual Visa scheme must also:

      • Be able to prove their knowledge of English (unless they hold the nationality of a majority English-speaking country – this requirement is waived for Australian citizens)
      • Demonstrate access to finances to support themselves while in the UK. As of March 2024, this financial requirement equates to £1,270 per person per annum.

      High Potential Individual Visas are not granted to applicants who have already been granted a Graduate Visa, or who have travelled to the UK as a student under the Student Doctorate Extension Scheme.

      High Potential Individual Visa: Application Fees

      Those looking to take the graduate route and apply for a High Potential Individual Visa face several costs in doing so. These are subject to change, but as of March 2024 stand at:

      • £210 fee for Ecctis to check the validity of a degree level qualification (£252 if the applicant is already in the UK)
      • £822 application fee
      • £1,035 healthcare surcharge for NHS access. This is payable every year the applicant is resident in the UK. If the High Potential Individual Visa is granted, it will cost £2,070 for two years or £3,105 for three years. If High Potential Individual Visa holders work in British public sector healthcare after paying it, they may be able to receive a refund.

      There may also be costs involved in collating the required documents, attending visa appointments and in seeking legal advice.

      High Potential Individual Visa: Step By Step Application Process

      The application process for a High Potential Individual Visa is fairly uniform and rarely experiences complexities, as the eligibility criteria are so strict. It is as follows:

      Ensure adequate academic ranking on global universities list

      The global universities considered eligible for inclusion by the UK Government are dependent on the global universities list ranking. Visa applicants’ qualification/s must have been granted by an eligible institution that appears on the list the year of their graduation.

      Verify qualification equivalent with Ecctis

      Ecctis will verify the degree or doctoral qualification and equate it with a UK degree granted by a British university.

      Complete online application form and pay visa fee

      The High Potential Individual Visa application form can be completed online. All parties covered by this visa (including dependent children and a spouse) must reference the same application number but must complete separate online forms. At this point, applicants pay the visa administration fee.

      Attend UKVCAS biometric appointment

      Applicants must pre-book and then attend a biometric information appointment at a UKVCAS (UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services) centre. Their fingerprints and photo will be taken, in line with standard biometric resident permit requirements.

      Await visa decision

      UKVCAS will inform the applicant of their decision on whether to grant a High Potential Individual Visa in writing. If the visa is granted, the visa holder may travel to the UK as soon as it is valid. If a visa refusal is received, there may be grounds to appeal. Contact Total Law for advice on +44 (0)333 305 9375.

      High Potential Individual Visa: The Typical Application Processing Time

      On average, it takes three weeks from the date of the biometric information appointment for UKVCAS to present their decision ono a High Potential Individual Visa. If the applicant already holds another British visa and is looking to switch onto the HPI Visa scheme, this processing period is extended to around eight weeks, dependent on circumstance.

      Extending The High Potential Individual Visa

      There is no recourse to extend the period of an HPI Visa – if suitable employment has not been found, or the visa holder no longer meets the eligibility criteria, they must leave the UK.

      However, if the individual is employed in the UK they may be able to switch to either a Skilled Worker Visa or Global Talent Visa to remain in the country. Call the Total Law team for support in switching visa types on +44 (0)333 305 9375.

      Our Immigration Team Can Help

      The Total Law team of immigration solicitors specialise in helping the greatest global talent visit and emigrate to the UK, with our services facilitating High Potential Individual Visa applications forming just one part of our support.

      Communicating regularly with no jargon and never charging any hidden fees, we aim to take the stress out of visa applications and instead nurture and guide applicants through this exciting time of their lives. Call our UK office today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 to learn more on our support services and begin your journey to a new life in Great Britain.

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                The global universities list is updated annually based on performance rankings. An applicant’s university must appear in the global universities list on the year they graduate or their degree or doctorate level qualification was granted, or they will not be deemed eligible.

                British universities are not covered by the High Potential Individual Visa scheme. Only those included in the world university rankings on the global universities list are considered eligible.

                Currently the HPI Visa route is only open to international students aged 18 or over. However, if the applicant turns 18 within five years of graduating, their qualification may still be valid.