The UK wants top talents from across the world to come to the UK and work here. With this objective, on 22 July 2021, the UK Government has pledged to introduce new High potential individuals and scale-up visa routes to attract and retain highly-skilled, internationally mobile innovation talent. The objective is to open the borders for top talent, making the UK a place for highly talented people to come and work. High Potential Individual visas will allow overseas citizens to come to the UK without a job offer if they show high potential. This visa route will be under an unsponsored point-based system. This aligns with the UK's aim to make the country a global hub for innovation by 2035.
Existing visa routes for 'high potential individuals'
Global Talent Visa and Skilled Worker Visa routes are currently in place for highly talented individuals to come and work in the UK. Global Talent visa is for global leaders or emerging global leaders in academia or research, arts and culture or digital technology. Those not qualified to come through a Global Talent visa can look for the Skilled worker route.
Who is a high potential individual?
Those individuals who have graduated from a top global university will be considered high potential individuals. These individuals will be highly skilled and academically elite individuals. This will include global innovators and entrepreneurs looking to work or set up business in the UK. However, the Government will also explore the scope to expand the eligibility criteria to other high potential characteristics under this route.
The visa will not require individuals to receive a job offer, making it flexible for them to switch jobs or employers and thus contribute to the UK economy. Under the High Potential Individual visa route, one will be able to expand their visa and settle in the UK provided they meet the requirements.
Eligibility for High Potential Individual Visa
As of now, the foreign individuals graduating from top global universities will be eligible to apply under a High Potential Individual visa. The scope will be expanded further with high potential characteristics. They will not be required to get a job offer from a UK employer. More eligibility criteria will be made available in due course by a statement of changes to the immigration rules. This is to be seen whether it will include only a closed
list of top global universities. Many highly skilled migrants and UK employers are hoping that additional criteria against which an individual applicant not qualified from a leading global university can be assessed more flexibly.
The scale-up visa route
This new proposed visa route will allow talented individuals to come to the UK who have a highly skilled job offer from a qualifying scale up at the required salary level. In order to qualify as a scale-up, a business will have to demonstrate an annual average revenue or employment growth rate over three years greater than 20%, plus a minimum of 10 employees at the start of these three years.
One coming to the UK through this visa route will be able to switch jobs and employers, and they will also be able to extend their visa and settle in the UK provided they meet the specific requirements.