On 22 July 2021 the UK government announced its vision to make the UK a global hub for innovation by 2035. The plans comprise of 4 pillars to support the achievement of that vision, one of which is the use of people to generate innovation through immigration with the introduction of a “High Potential Individual” visa route, “scale-up" route and the “revitalised Innovator route”.
The High Potential Individual route
Page 60 of the strategy document outlines plans to introduce a new visa route to allow individuals who demonstrate high potential to come to the UK:
“Eligibility will be open to applicants who have graduated from a top global university. The UK government will explore the scope to expand eligibility to other characteristics of high potential. There will be no job offer requirement, giving individuals the flexibility to work, switch jobs or employers and make contributions to the UK economy. The route will also allow eligible individuals to extend their visa and settle in the UK, subject to meeting specific requirements.”
Unsurprisingly the announcement bears very little detail on the substantive requirements of the route, and it is unlikely that we will know more until a formal statement of changes to the Immigration Rules is put forward. What we do know is that this will be an unsponsored route that gives visa holders the flexibility to work for different employers in the UK with no job offer requirement.
Who is deemed a “High Potential Individual”? The policy document suggests that eligibility will be open to applicants who have graduated from a top global university, but there is no further guidance on what universities are included in this definition.
The scale-up route
The government have also introduced plans for a new visa for skilled migrant workers to come to the UK to work for scale-ups. Substantive detail is again thin on the ground, but the policy does define a scale-up as a business that can:
“demonstrate an annual average revenue or employment growth rate over a three-year period greater than 20% and a minimum of 10 employees at the start of the three-year period.”
The Innovator visa
The policy paper also promises reform the current Innovator route to make the UK more attractive for overseas entrepreneurs and businesses. The government plan to make the UK a “competitive offer” by:
Businesses will seemingly be required to meet a slightly lower threshold of “high potential to grow and add value to the UK”, and the removal of the minimum £50,000 investment level will be welcome.
05/09/21 Via Google06 September 2021
01/09/21 Via Google01 September 2021
08/08/21 Via Google09 August 2021