- The new UK visa aims to attract graduates from the best colleges in the world.
- Graduates can apply for a High Potential Individual visa without a job offer.
- Harvard, Yale, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology are among the 20 eligible US colleges. Here is the full list.
Fresh graduates from 20 US universities will now be able to apply for a visa to live and work in the UK for up to three years with no job offer on the table. The visa is part of a modernization of the UK’s immigration system aimed at attracting a highly skilled workforce to the country.
Before moving to the UK, US citizens usually need a UK based company to make a specific job offer and agree to take care of their work visa papers. Now, under the new High Potential Individuals (HPI) visa program, they can apply without moving to the country with an offer and bringing their family with them – as long as they have earned a degree from a locally ‘top’ university in the past five years.
Eligible graduates must come from universities included in the UK government’s annual list of what it considers the 50 best universities worldwide. To qualify for this list, each institution must have appeared in two of the three global rankings; Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Quacquarelli Symonds University World Rankings and/or Academic World University Rankings.
Twenty US universities are on the UK government’s 2022 list. The majority of other universities are located in Europe and Asia.
Graduates with a bachelor’s or master’s degree are eligible for a two-year visa, while those with a doctoral degree can stay for three years. The visa cannot be extended, but anyone can apply for another visa after it has expired.
There are other requirements. Applicants must be proficient in the English language. They must also demonstrate that they can support themselves and have at least £1,270 (US$1,604) in disposable cash. The cost of the visa is 715 pounds (903 US dollars). Applicants must also make a contribution to the UK’s National Health Service, which costs up to £1,872 ($2,365).
Changing your visa is part of the UK’s new points-based immigration system
The visa is part of the UK government’s realignment of immigration policy towards a “points-based system” since leaving the European Union in January 2021.
Under the system, visa applicants must accumulate “70 points” to secure skilled worker status. Points are awarded based on factors such as an individual’s qualifications, the type of job they are applying for, language skills, and level of compensation.
It aims to attract candidates that you believe are highly qualified, particularly in the fields of technology, startups, and finance.
This new visa offer means that the UK can continue to attract the best and brightest from around the world. Treasury Secretary Rishi Sunak said. In 2019, the government changed its system to allow any foreigner graduating from a UK university to stay for two years after graduation – previously they had to leave within four months of graduating.
The plans have been met with some criticism. Christopher Tresos, director and senior researcher at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, told the BBC that there were no African, South Asian or Latino institutions on the UK list, and Christopher Tresos, told the BBC it was an unfair approach.
Trissus warned that if the UK wanted to tackle issues such as the climate crisis, future energy access and pandemics, it should recognize the specific skills and knowledge of graduates in developing countries.
The list includes the following 20 US universities in alphabetical order:
- Columbia University
- Johns Hopkins University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
- New York University (NYU)
- Northwest University
- University of California, Berkeley
- University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
- University of California, San Diego
- University of Michigan Ann Arbor
- University of Pennsylvania
- The University of Texas at Austin
- University of Washington
To read the full list, go to the UK government website.
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