UK High Potential Individual Visa Scheme Goes Live

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The new scheme is something of a revival of a similar scheme run in the UK from 2002 to 2008. The UK has closed a ‘golden visa’ structure but seems keen to keep the doors open to specific categories of people. immigrants to address skills shortages. and stimulate business.

One door closes but another opens. This, at any rate, appears to be the case with the UK government’s official launch of the High Potential Individual route, aimed at bringing highly skilled immigrants to the UK. It came months after the UK suspended its Tier 1 investor visa scheme, aimed at wealthy individuals willing to pay at least £2million ($2.52million) to invest. in the country.

The High Potential Individual option – now in operation – has some qualities in common with the former Highly Skilled Migrant Program which ran from 2002 to 2008 under the former Labor Party-led government of Tony Blair.

Since the UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016, pressure has grown on policymakers to make the country more attractive to immigrants with money and skills. This is a delicate political balance, as fears of unchecked immigration helped fuel Brexit in the first place. The Tier 1 Investor Visa has fallen victim to concerns that it is a conduit for dirty money – a complaint filed against similar “golden visa” schemes.

Russians have been eager applicants for these visas, and the UK slammed the doors when Russian military forces invaded Ukraine in late February. These visas have also been attacked for favoring the wealthy.

Promoters hope the new HPI program will enable the UK to move forward and develop a program that meets urgent needs. It was well received by JPIN, an Indian investment bank focused on cross-border opportunities.

“I suspect that a combination of upskilling local talent and building on the pillars of other thriving economies will help tackle the skills shortage. It certainly seems to be the UK’s strategy – especially by introducing the HPI visa program, which will help attract talent from other countries to fill the current void,” Gaurav Singh, founder of the company, said in a statement.

The HPI is open to applicants who have graduated from a leading global university, allowing them to live and work in the country without the need for a sponsor.

Vacancies in the UK are at an all-time high, with 1.29 million vacancies, almost 500,000 (25%) more since the start of the pandemic. With 131,000 vacancies in the professional services sector – encompassing key areas such as technology and engineering – the gap creates a significant supply-side constraint. The hope is that the HPIs will ease the pressure.

According to JPIN, more than a third of the UK workforce (36%) cite a lack of skilled workers as the biggest factor in stunting business growth. Specifically, one in four respondents cited the obvious lack of tech talent as a key issue, he said.

“Recruiting tech talent is now one of the main areas of focus for businesses, with the lack of skilled workers in this sector starting to have a real impact on UK businesses. It is clear that a large number of companies want to transform and digitize their operations in light of a difficult economic climate; however, there are simply not enough skilled workers in the country to fill this gap,” he said.


Change visa regime
As this news service has previously reported, the UK government appears to be adjusting visa regimes to attract talent and investment, but in a way that is not fraught with controversial political baggage.

The Innovator Visa system, for example, seems to be an example of a more pro-business format.

“The innovative visa, although a good concept, has a high refusal rate and is being aggressively promoted (certainly by Middle Eastern agents) as an easy route to UK residency. United, which it definitely isn’t, and I don’t think either will create the big business flows that the UK is looking for (or maybe they’re NOT looking for big flows)” said John Hanafin, managing director and founder of Huriya Private, a specialist consultancy firm working in the area of ​​high net worth individuals, cross-border migration and localization goals (Hanafin is based in Dubai.)

“The recently announced ‘High Potential Visa’ is an interesting angle, aimed at ‘opening borders to top talent’. It is inspired by the United Arab Emirates playbook (we got the “Genius Visa” two years ago). It is very similar to the old UK Highly Skilled Migrant Scheme (closed in 2008) which encouraged highly skilled people to come and seek work or settle [on] theirs,” Hanafin said.

“The HPI visa will be open to applicants who have graduated from a leading global university and will allow you to live and work in the UK without the need for a sponsor. This means that graduates do not need an offer for eligible skilled employment in the UK from a Home Office approved sponsor and you will be able to come to the UK to find work, be self-employed or volunteer,” he said. continued. “So the process of going to the UK should be much quicker and easier for internationally mobile smart people,” he added.

This news service also wrote a few days ago about views on the UK Innovator visa.

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