BRITAIN is to introduce a new high potential individual visa regime with effect from May 30 that will allow graduates in certain sectors from developing countries to be given priority as their skill sets are desperately needed in the UK economy.
Constantly introducing new stringent measures to make obtaining visas harder, the UK has had to relax its rules of late in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Given the shortage of healthcare and social care workers, the government eased the restrictions on obtaining visas, given the desperate need for manpower.
Under a new scheme to be introduced, the UK will begin the issuance of a new visa that allows holders of first degrees, masters and doctorates degrees to travel to the country and work in fields such as science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. Known as the high potential individual (HPI) visa, it will allow applicants to relocate to the UK without a prior job offer or sponsorship.
According to the UK government, in order to qualify for the HPI visa, applicants needed to have been awarded a degree from an overseas university. Also, the university has to be one of the top global universities as published in the global universities list by the Home Office.
Furthermore, the government noted that the list would be compiled annually and would comprise institutions included in the list of the top 50 universities in at least two of the following ranking systems. Times Higher Education World University rankings, Quacquarelli Symonds World University rankings and the Academic Ranking of the World Universities.
Also, the applicants must have been awarded a degree, equivalent to or not less than a UK bachelor’s degree bit checks showed that Nigerian universities do not appear in any of these global rankings. Of late, the UK had been one of the choice destinations for many Nigerians seeking to relocate abroad for academic and work purposes.
Kevin Foster, the UK minister of safe and legal migrations, said the HPI visa route is targeted at attracting high-skilled foreign university graduates, who will be allowed to work and stay in the UK for two or three years. On the expiration of the visa, the holders could switch to permits under the skilled worker, start-up and innovator, exceptional talent, or scale-up route for continued stay in the UK.
Mr Foster said: “The new High Potential Individual route will make it as simple as possible for internationally mobile individuals who demonstrate high potential to come to the UK. It will enable those who have already demonstrated their potential through academic achievement to come to the UK without a prior job offer.
“If you’ve been resident in the UK for more than 12 months, you might not need to meet this requirement. Graduates with a bachelor’s or a master’s degree will be given a two-year visa., while PhD or other doctoral-level graduates will get visas valid for three years. This visa can only be granted once and will not be available to those who have already had a graduate visa.”