Visa to work in the UK for Singaporeans
Graduates of Singapore's top universities, NUS and NTU could benefit from the newly implemented High Potential Individual Visa which entitles them to work in the UK for two years (and three years for PhD graduates). Source; Tolga Akmen/AFP

Are you a recent graduate from the two top universities in Singapore National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) — planning to work abroad? 

Then consider applying for the High Potential Individual (HPI) visa. It is a new UK work visa for Singaporeans and citizens of other nations who have graduated from a top 50 non-UK university based on at least two university ranking systems: the Times Higher Education world university rankings, the Quacquarelli Symonds world university rankings, or the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

If you’ve been searching high and low for a UK work visa for Singaporeans such as yourself then the HPI visa is the right fit for you. Under this visa scheme, you could enhance your personal and professional development through securing employment with some of the leading companies in the country.

You must hold a bachelor’s, master’s or a PhD from one of the qualifying universities within the past five years. Additionally, you must fulfill the English language proficiency requirements and have sufficient funds to support yourself in the UK upon arrival amounting to at least 1,270 pounds (the equivalent of 2,192 Singapore dollars at the time of writing). 

You will not be required to have secured a job upon arriving in the UK. Within the two-year validity of the HPI visa, you may seek job opportunities in the country in any industry if you are a degree or master’s holder. PhD holders can stay in the UK for three years.

Visa to work in the UK

Graduates from Singapore’s top two universities — NTU and NUS — can apply to work with British employers. Source: Roslan Rahman/AFP

A “brain gain” rather than a “brain drain”

As reported by the Straits Times, David Leong, who heads the recruitment firm People Worldwide Consulting in Singapore, believes that this visa scheme would be attractive for graduates of Singapore’s top two universities. The opportunities offered through this UK work visa for Singaporeans would lead to a “brain gain” rather than a “brain drain” to the Little Red Dot. 

Leong believes that graduates who take up the HPI visa to work in the UK will eventually return home, acquiring important career development skills, such as leadership qualities that could benefit Singaporean businesses. He has seen this to be the case among many Singaporeans he has headhunted. 

Leong states that graduates of Singapore’s top universities possess positive attributes which that are in demand by British employers. Among the qualities they possess which gives them a competitive advantage include their abilities to converse and liaise with Mandarin-speaking clients, good work ethics and being well-trained. 

HPI visa: Important things to know

A statement released by the UK government last year states that the HPI visa will allow flexibility among its applicants to work, switch jobs or employers with whatever they deem suits their skills or preferences while contributing to the UK economy.

There are other eligibility requirements required by you to obtain this visa, which includes:

  • Pay a 715 pounds application fee
  • Pay 210 pounds for Ecctis to check your qualification is valid (252 pounds if you’re applying from the UK).
  • Pay the healthcare surcharge — which amounts to 624 pounds for each year you will be staying in the UK.

When it comes to looking for a UK work visa for Singaporeans such as yourself — the HPI visa could help you unlock your hidden potential.