According to a new visa scheme of the UK government, graduates from top international universities can get a UK visa.

The objective of the “high-potential individual” route is to secure the best and brightest talent for the country early in their careers. The scheme will cover the alumni of top global universities, and individuals who have completed their graduate degrees in the past five years can apply.


Eligible candidates can get a visa regardless of their country of origin, and they do not require a job offer to apply. The visa duration for graduates with bachelor’s or master’s degrees is two years, while it extends to three years for PhD candidates. They can even switch to long-term employment visas to fulfilling relevant requirements. Moreover, the scheme has no cap on the number of eligible candidates.

A candidate must have graduated from a university featuring in the top 50 of at least two of the following in the year of their graduation to be eligible for this route-

  • The Times Higher Education World University Rankings
  • The Academic Ranking of World Universities
  • The Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings

The 2021 list of eligible universities includes 20 US universities, including Yale, Harvard, and MIT. Additionally, there are 17 qualifying institutions, including the University of Melbourne, the University of Hong Kong, and the Paris Sciences et Lettres University, on the list. Noticeably, it does not include Latin American, South Asian, and African universities. Several academics have expressed their disappointment over the deeply inequitable approach.


The visa cost under this new scheme is £715, along with the immigration health surcharge that enables migrants to use the NHS. Graduates can also bring their families, provided they have maintenance funds of at least £1,270. Further, they have to show English language proficiency of at least the B1 intermediate level. A security and criminality check is also mandatory for the applicants.

According to the current norms of the student visa scheme re-introduced two years ago, international students studying in the UK can stay and work in the country for up to two years. The decision came as good news after the 2012 law that forced foreign students to leave the UK four months after completing a degree. Additionally, there are more routes for graduates from other universities looking to migrate to the UK. These include the Skilled Worker and Global Talent routes.

If you are considering studying abroad why don’t you discuss your prospects and opportunities with experts at Lurnable’s dedicated study abroad counselling division LurnPathways?

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