UK government
The UK government announced a new scheme that would enable graduates of top global universities to come to the UK. Source: Tolga Akmen/AFP

The UK government will be introducing a new “High Potential Individual” UK work visa that would enable high potential individuals to settle in the country. This new scheme is part of the government’s new innovation strategy and could benefit international students who have graduated from top global universities to move to the UK without a job offer.

“Eligibility will be open to applicants who have graduated from a top global university. The UK government will explore the scope to expand eligibility to other characteristics of high potential,” it said. “There will be no job offer requirement, giving individuals the flexibility to work, switch jobs or employers and make contributions to the UK economy.

Eligible individuals are allowed to extend their visa and settle in the UK, subject to meeting specific requirements. No further details on the requirements of the High Potential Individual route were listed in the document.

UK government

New UK work visa welcomes “high potential” individuals to make contributions to the economy. Source: Adrian Dennis/AFP

New UK work visa to attract innovators, top talent

The UK Innovation Strategy sets out the government’s vision to make the UK a global hub for innovation by 2035. To achieve this, the UK is opening its borders to top talent to make it easier for them to enter.

“We know that exceptional people and teams are key to vibrant innovation ecosystems. The location of new high-tech industries around the world is in part a function of where the early scientific and entrepreneurial leadership happened to be located,” it said. To lead the industries of the future, it needs to “make the UK the best place in the world to work in R&D.”

“But we currently are losing the global competition to top talent. More inventors leave the UK each year than arrive here,” it said. The UK government aims to reverse the brain drain by 2030 through three priority areas:

  • Opening their borders to top talent from everywhere in the world, via a merit-based system rather than one based on country of origin
  • Ensure their funding system can attract and enable the very best researchers and innovators, opening up opportunities for talented people and teams to pursue ambitious, long-term goals
  • Making a bold offer to early career innovators, making the UK the best possible home for those starting out in a career in innovation

Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Secretary of State Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Innovation is central to the largest challenges the world faces, from climate change and the ageing society to global pandemics. The UK must be in the vanguard of the response to these challenges. 

“Now [that] we have left the EU, we can move quickly to respond to these challenges, and other global opportunities, to cement the UK’s position as a world-leader in science, research and innovation. Furthermore, by supporting innovation in places, sectors, and businesses across the UK, we can level up the economy and create high-value new jobs and trading opportunities as we build back better.”

Recently, the UK Home Office opened the Graduate Route on July 1. This route enables students to work or look for work in the UK post-graduation for a maximum period of two years, or three years for doctoral students.