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Updated: May 31, 2022

Author: Nilmini Roelens

Sometimes, if we are not sensible, potential remains only that: potential.

After 30 years of practice, an immigration lawyer looks for reasons to leap out of bed with glee on a Monday morning to be able to enthuse their employer clients...

"Ikigai" is the Japanese concept of reason for being and joy that makes you leap out of slumber to tackle the day. Can one’s ikigai be enthused by HPI?

There are difficulties with over-focusing on exclusivity and elitism.

How useful is this new route for employers seeking to help relaunch a nation struggling to rise again after the heavy blows of Covid, Brexit and the ripple effects of the war in Ukraine? In the same way one needs a solid grab rail to steady one's wobbly gait when suffering from a hangover after late-night merry making, one would need something a little more meaningful, far-reaching and solid, all round.

Global Universities List from which HPI would hail are those ranked in the top 50 of at least two of three rankings: Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World Ranking of Universities and Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). A first class graduate from anywhere else need not apply.

Of the thirty-seven universities accepted onto the scheme,

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twenty-three are North America centric with only one French University, one German university, one Swedish and a couple of Swiss ones, which have been deemed as making the cut.

Whilst the graduates of tip-top universities from China, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong each get a look in, it would appear there are no world class graduates with high potential elsewhere in the world, from say South Asia, Africa, South America or the Middle East. Whilst "a handful" of young Indians may seek some small comfort via the Youth Mobility Scheme “lottery” - the absence of security in HPI will no doubt discourage most - except the most determined.

An individual who has the "potential" to be a Cambridge don from say Greece, Italy, Turkey or Malaysia would not qualify as an HPI unless he or she studied at one of these exclusive 37 Universities.

Those with a doctorate level qualification can expect permission to enter or stay for three years whilst those with any other degrees will be welcomed for a two-year stint. During that time the original employer must secure a sponsor licence or else a more predatory employer may be encouraged to usurp the talent.

HPI is not a route to settlement and thus the precarity of the offer will mean that any excitement about being recruited or indeed recruiting such a highflyer, may rapidly wane since one would need a sponsor licence to retain them as a Skilled worker (unless the individual can switch to some other route).

Then why wait for two years? Why not sponsor immediately? What purpose does HPI serve?

Given the amount of tax payer resources that are taken up in designing visa routes is it important to consult with stakeholders to ensure they are fit for purpose?

The assumption that the brightest and the best in the entire world would wish to rush to the UK despite the very obvious shortcomings of an offer is a kind of misplaced nationalism. There exist elsewhere in the world far more attractive (if not considerably more conducive) visa offers which are of mutual benefit.

A visa option which fails to look at the benefits to both offeror and offeree, and other interested parties, such as employers, may well be doomed from the beginning.

Are any employers waiting with bated breath for the opportunity to hire high potential talent from overseas, without the need for sponsorship, feeling somewhat deflated?

A summary of the provisions are provided by Barrister Adam Pipe below:

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