According to Gartner, a high-potential employee (HIPO) is someone with the ability, engagement, and aspiration to rise to and succeed in more senior, critical positions. Within most talent strategies, companies have a goal of attracting and developing these HIPOs to ensure that the company will have future leaders. Mobility programs are used to support talent acquisition by offering and managing critical support for relocating these talented individuals and their families. Rotational assignment programs are also frequented utilized for developing these employees through a series of international assignments so that they can gain the experience, insights, and relationships they need to navigate as leader in the future.

There are a number of resources out there for helping a company identify who these people are but the UK has just rolled out a new program that might make it easier to bring in that talent. According to GOV.UK, a High Potential Individual (HPI) visa gives you permission to stay in the UK for at least 2 years. To apply, you must have been awarded a qualification by an eligible university in the last 5 years. Business Insider shares that this visa is part of updates to the UK immigration system aimed at attracting highly skilled workers to the country. This new UK visa:

  • Aims to attract "best and brightest" graduates from the world's best colleges from around the world.
  • Allows alumni to apply for a High Potential Individual visa without having a job offer.
  • Is only for those that have graduated in the last 5 years from one of the 50 best universities globally, 20 of which are U.S. universities, like Harvard, Yale and MIT.

For a university to qualify for that list, each institution must appear on two of three global rankings: The Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, or The Academy of Ranking World Universities. Graduates with a bachelor's or master's degree will be eligible for a two-year visa, while those holding a Ph.D. can stay for three years. The visa cannot be extended, but a person can apply to a different visa scheme once it expires.  There are a few other requirements:

  • Applicants must be proficient in English.
  • They must pass security and criminality checks. 
  • They must also show that they can support themselves and have at least £1,270, or about $1,604, in available funds. 
  • The visa costs £715. 
  • Applicants must also contribute to the UK's National Health Service, which costs up to £1,872.

According to Davidson Morris, the application process for a High Potential Individual visa will be similar to other work routes. The applicant will need to submit an online application, pay the relevant fee and provide a number of supporting documents. Applicants will also need to attend an appointment to provide their biometric information, including a photo of their face and scan of their fingerprints. 

It is anticipated that this new route to employment in the UK will make it easier for established UK companies and organizations to recruit the talent they need to make them world-leading; whether this be in technology, digital technology, vaccine breakthroughs or in various other industries and sectors.