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US universities dominate the UK’s new High Potential Individual visa for top graduates

high potential individual visa

31 May 2022

The new High Potential Individual visa for graduates of the world’s top universities launches this week and there’s great news for graduates of many US colleges and those who want to hire them in the UK.

For those who qualify it looks set to be a very handy immigration route to the UK – also for employers who want to hire people who have graduated from a top university in the past five years without the need for sponsorship.

High Potential Individuals will be able to come to the UK without the need of a job offer or sponsorship and work, look for work, work freelance or even start a business. They will be able to bring qualifying dependant family members too. The UK Government says that applications will be processed speedily.

The new visa in the words of Chancellor Rishi Sunak, “means that the UK can continue to attract the best and brightest from across the globe.”

Launching the new route, he insisted: “we want the businesses of tomorrow to be built here today – which is why I call on students to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to forge their careers here.”

Potential employers / employees keen to use this route should check the global university list for the year applicants graduated to see if theirs was one of the eligible top universities that year.

US Universities account for over half the qualifying top global universities on the 2021 list

The global universities lists are made up of higher education institutions that featured in the top 50 of at least two of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings and The Academic Ranking of World Universities.

The lists have caused controversy in some quarters as there are only five European universities on the 2021 list, none at all from Africa, South Asia or Latin America.

The good news for American graduates is that around half the qualifying universities on the lists are in the USA.

So for example 2021 graduates of the following US universities are invited to apply:

California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Columbia University

Cornell University

Duke University

Harvard University

Johns Hopkins University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

New York University (NYU)

Northwestern University

Princeton University

Stanford University

University of California, Berkeley

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

University of California, San Diego

University of Chicago

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

University of Pennsylvania

University of Texas at Austin

University of Washington

Yale University

For the lists for those graduating in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 and more details on the new visa scheme, read our full guide here.