The aim of the HPI is to attract graduates from top-ranking Universities worldwide to the UK. In contrast to sponsored work visas, eligible individuals will not need a job offer in the UK to qualify.
The visa will be valid for 2 years (or 3 years for PhD holders). On completion of this initial period of eligibility, individuals will need to switch into another visa category should they wish to remain in the UK.
The cost savings of the HPI compared to sponsored worker visas may make it an attractive option for employers. However, much like the Graduate visa route, in some instances employers may simply be deferring these costs to a later date where an individual’s only option for extending their stay in the UK will be a sponsored work visa.
In addition, there is arguably less certainty to this route given the list of eligible universities changes annually and so for example two candidates graduating from the same course in different years may have different eligibility.
For employers, understanding how best to incorporate this route within your existing immigration programme will be important to maximise the benefits offered.
Questions employers should consider include:
- Will the business support the costs associated with applying under this route?
- What approach should be taken where HPI holders need to switch into a sponsored worker category?
The creation of the HPI visa is the latest major immigration change of 2022, following the introduction of several new visa categories over the last few months. Employers who have not recently reviewed their immigration programme may now wish to use this as an opportunity to update and reflect policies and processes to reflect recent developments.