United Kingdom offers visas to graduates from UT-Austin, other leading universities

Hope Unger, News Reporter

The United Kingdom announced they are offering a High Potential Individual Visa for graduated students from leading universities around the globe, including UT, an opportunity that started May 30. 

To be eligible, the individual must have graduated from a university that is on the HPI list during their graduation year and have the same qualifications as a U.K. bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or doctorate.

According to the U.K.’s HPI eligibility website, to apply for the HPI visa, the applicant must prove their knowledge of English and prove they can financially support themselves in the U.K. The application fee is about $877, and applicants must apply within five years of graduation. After applying, the overview page says to expect a decision within three weeks. The HPI visa lasts for two years with an undergraduate or graduate degree, or for three if the applicant has a Ph.D. or other doctoral qualification, according to the program’s overview page.

Additional fees include about $258 to check applicants’ qualifications via Ecctis, a service that helps transfer educational qualifications globally, and nearly $766 per year for the healthcare surcharge, according to the HPI visa website.

The overview page lists that with an HPI visa, the accepted applicant can work in most jobs, look for work, be self-employed, do voluntary work, travel abroad and return to the U.K. and even bring their partner and children to the U.K. if eligible during the visa’s term. However, those with the HPI visa will not be able to apply for public benefits, work as a professional sportsperson, extend the visa or apply to settle permanently in the U.K.

Those interested in continuing their studies in the U.K. while using their HPI visa will have to verify that their course of study is not eligible for a student visa, according to the HPI overview page.

Mathematics senior Sam Kartiganer said he has family who lives in the U.K., but even without that connection, he would still be considering the program. 

“It would be nice to have an option to not necessarily be in the United States,” Kartiganer said. “To be in Europe and experience a different place, not a lot of people get to do that.”

Kartiganer said that while in the United States’ undergraduate programs students have to take general education courses, these are not required in the U.K., allowing students to focus on their chosen study. He said for the two countries’ graduate programs, both allow students to solely take classes regarding their studies.

“There are extremely prestigious schools in the U.K.,” Kartiganer said. “I don’t know if, necessarily, I have chances of getting into those sorts of schools as much as I do with the prestigious schools in the United States.”

Sonia Feigenbaum, senior vice provost of global engagement and chief international officer, said UT’s reputation for fostering global research, education and creative activity makes its graduates eligible to participate in the program.

“We are pleased that this opportunity allows us to further expand Longhorns’ international career opportunities and support their efforts toward gaining professional experience and networking in the U.K.,” Feigenbaum said in an email.