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Graduates from top universities in Hong Kong, China, and Singapore are eligible. Applicants are not required to have a job offer to apply. 

In order to secure "high potential individuals" during their early career stage, the UK government has recently introduced a new visa scheme to attract global talents who "have potential to benefit the UK workforce".

According to the government's website and BBC News, applicants have to fulfill the following requirements to apply a visa under the High Potential Individual (HPI) route :

  • Have graduated from an eligible international university shortlisted by the UK government within five years before application;
  • In the year in which they graduated, the university they attended was among the Top 50 of at least two of the rankings, including the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, The Academic Ranking of World Universities or the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings;
  • To pass a security and criminality check;
  • Be proficient in English to at least the B1 intermediate level, having the "fluency to communicate without effort with native speakers".

Bachelor's or master's degree holders can apply for a short-term work visa of two years, and three years for those with a PhD. Applicants are not required to have a job offer to apply. They may switch to other long-term employment visas if certain requirements are met.

Successful applicants can bring along their families to the UK, for which they must prepare at least £1,270 of maintenance funds.

The visa will cost £715 with an additional immigration health surcharge (IHS), a fee which allows migrants to the UK to use the National Health Service (NHS).

Some of the eligible international universities for 2021 include:

  • Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) (Hong Kong)
  • Harvard University (USA)
  • Kyoto University (Japan)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (USA)
  • National University of Singapore (Singapore)
  • Nanyang Technological University (NTU) (Singapore)
  • Peking University (China)
  • Tsinghua University (China)
  • University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong)
  • University of Melbourne (Australia)
  • University of Tokyo (Japan)
  • Yale University (USA)

See the full lists for the last six years here.

The launch of the UK new work visa scheme for graduates from the top 50 non-UK universities has attracted criticism for excluding institutions from several parts of the world, such as those from Africa, India, Latin America or the Caribbean.

Seeing the recent developments, Gent Ukehajdaraj, from Erudera, commented on African universities being excluded from UK talent visa: "The university rankings that were chosen by the UK Government to identify high potential individuals are one way to do it, however, this absolutely doesn't mean that Africa, an entire continent with a population of 1.4bn, doesn't have any individuals with high potential studying at African universities.

"In my opinion, excluding them in this way is not logical or fair, but nonetheless, I think this is a good first step for the UK in its mission to attract the brightest minds and the list can be expanded in the future to include more universities and additional credible university rankings."


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