Indians barred from ‘high potential’ visas for UK

No fixed numbers were shared for those who can apply, which implies that it could be based on demand…reports Asian Lite News

Graduates from across 50 non-UK top-ranking universities can come to the United Kingdom (UK) through a new visa scheme called the High Potential Individual (HPI) route visa. However, since no Indian institution figures among the top 50 universities, not even IITs or IIMs, Indians will not be eligible to apply under this scheme.

The closest India has in the QS ranking 2022 announced last week is Indian Institute of Science at 155.

Eligible universities must appear in the top 50 rankings of at least two of the following — Times Higher Education world university rankings, Quacquarelli Symonds world university rankings, or the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

The objective is to attract the “brightest and best” at the beginning of their careers to work in the UK. Successful applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree will be given a two-year work visa, while PhD-holders can apply for a three-year visa. The UK government guidance states that beneficiaries can switch to other long-term employment visas, if they meet the eligibility criteria. No fixed numbers were shared for those who can apply, which implies that it could be based on demand.

Meanwhile, under the skilled worker category in the UK, Indians are the top nationality granted visas. Nearly two-fifth of visas were granted to Indians under it. “Considering the fact that Indians are among the most successful ethnic groups in the UK, it is sad that Indians can’t apply under this scheme,’’ said an expert on India-UK relations.

According to the last report on Race Disparity Audit released by the UK government, Indians were a major ethnic working group in the UK. “In the last year alone, over 65,500 skilled worker visas were issued to Indian nationals,” a British High Commission spokesperson told The New Indian Express.

Indian nationals have accounted for 43% of the total skilled worker visas in 2021, which is a 14% increase from 2019. Experts attribute this to the point-based UK immigration system that was launched after Brexit.

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