• Available to talented graduates from top 50 universities worldwide
  • New visa route from end of May could help ease UK skills shortages for employers including the IT, science and engineering sectors

A top immigration expert has today highlighted how a new high potential individual (HPI) visa could help ease the skills shortage for employers when it goes live at the end of May.

Jonathan Beech, Managing Director, Migrate UK , an immigration law firm, says the new HPI visa could help employers suffering from acute skills shortages such as IT, science and engineering by benefiting from the top talent available under the scheme. The approved HPI list of the best 50 universities worldwide outside of the UK includes Harvard University in the US, Peking University in China and the University of Tokyo in Japan, as well as those closer to the UK, such as Paris Sciences et Lettres in France.

Created by the government to help make the UK more globally competitive by accessing overseas talent from these Top 50 universities, the HPI visa is open to people of any nationality over 18 years of age with a degree from these elite universities within the last five years – and without sponsorship fees.

Says Jonathan Beech: “From our estimate, the new HPI route could be a huge potential talent source for employers suffering from acute skilled worker shortages – even if just a small proportion of graduates choose this visa to work overseas – nearly 5.3m graduates worldwide were enrolled across these 50 universities from 2017-21.

“But even though this route will go live in less than a month, most employers are still unaware they could employ through it when we’ve raised it with them – and the Home Office is not promoting it.

“Yet we know skills shortages are still growing and not just in IT, science and engineering. For example, there are a predicted 800,000 plus vacancies in healthcare alone next year – so employers with acute vacancies should try and take advantage of this new HPI scheme.”

This new visa will allow those who have obtained a degree from approved institutions in the last five years to apply and come to the UK to work freely for two or three years depending on their qualification.  Adds Jonathan Beech: “While this category does not lead to settlement directly and an applicant will need to switch status to a category such as Skilled Worker if they wanted to stay long term in the UK, it does offer graduates and employers alike a promising new option.”