Through Statement of changes to the Immigration Rules published on 15 March 2022, the UK government has launched elite routes to attract the brightest and best to the UK. These are:

High Potential Individual route comes into effect on 30 May 2022     

The High Potential Individual route is a new route in which applicants must have either a bachelor’s or postgraduate degree qualification from one of the top global universities outside the UK as published in the Global Universities List by the Home Office, awarded during the last 5 years from the date of application. The list will be compiled on an annual basis and consists of eligible non-UK institutions that are included in the list of the top 50 universities in at least two of the following ranking systems:

  1. Times Higher Education World University Rankings
  2. Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings
  3. The Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Permission will be granted for a period of 2 years for applicants relying on a qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelor’s or Master’s level degree; or for 3 years where the applicant holds a qualification equivalent to a UK PhD.

Scale-up route comes into effect on 22 August 2022      

The Scale-up route is a new route which allow those with a job offer at the required skills level from a recognised UK scale-up to qualify for a fast-track visa.

Applicants in this route must have a sponsored job offer from an authorised UK scale- up company. To register for this route, a company will need to demonstrate that they have an annualised growth of at least 20% for the previous 3-year period in terms of turnover or staffing. Companies will also need to have had a minimum of 10 employees at the start of this 3-year period.

The job offer above must be skilled to graduate level (RQF 6 and equivalent) and be paid an appropriate salary – at least £33,000 per year or the going rate for the particular occupation, whichever is higher.

Permission will be granted for 2 years. To extend their permission to stay applicants must have PAYE earnings of at least £33,000 per year for at least 50% of their time in the route. Extensions will be granted for 3 years.

The route leads to settlement. Applicants will need to have PAYE earnings of at least £33,000 in 24 months of the 3-year period immediately prior to their application for settlement, as well as the standard settlement requirements relating to 5 years’ continuous residence and demonstrating knowledge of life in the UK.