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New UK Visa Option Open to World's Top Graduates

Posted by Calum Martin in

Image courtesy of Flickr, (View licence)

A new visa route has opened in the UK and is aimed at graduates from the world's top universities.

According to the government, the "high-potential individual" aims to attract the brightest and best students from across the world early in their careers.

This route will be available to students who have graduated from a top university outside of the UK within the past five years. The graduates will be able to apply for this visa without the requirement of a formal job offer and regardless of their country of birth.

The visa will be valid for two years for students with a bachelor's or master's degree and three years for a PhD.

The government has not yet put a cap on the number of eligible graduates seeking this visa route.

In order to qualify as a "top" university, an institution must have placed in at least two of the 'Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings or The Academic Ranking of World Universities, in the year in which the candidate graduated.

Included within the list, which has been published online by the government, are 20 universities from the US. Harvard, Yale and MIT all feature alongside 17 institutes from outside of the US.

So far, no universities from South Asia, Latin America or Africa are eligible, which has caused disappointment among some academics.

Among those academics was Christopher Trisos, the director and senior researcher at the University of Cape Town, who commented that it was a deeply inequitable approach. He continued by saying the UK should be "recognising and including diverse skills and in-depth knowledge held by many graduates from universities in developing countries."

The visa costs £715 alongside the immigration health surcharge, which allows migrants to the UK to access the NHS.

Graduates will also be able to bring their families, although they must have funds of at least £1,270.

A spokesperson for the Home Office commented on the list of eligible institutions, stating it "provides independent validation for institutions and opens up the opportunity for new international universities to move up the ranks and join this list in the future."

They continued by stating there are "several other routes eligible for graduates from other universities including the Graduate, Skilled Worker and Global Talent routes."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak also commented on the visa, stating: "The route means that the UK will grow as a leading international hub for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.

"We want the businesses of tomorrow to be built here today, which is why I call on students to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to forge their careers here."