The UK recently introduced a number of changes to its immigration system in the wake of Brexit. In order to ensure that the country is able to attract high skilled workers from overseas, who may wish to come to the country in the short term, the Home Office has introduced a number of visas which allow for entry on a shorter period of time. Some of these visas are focused on the idea that someone may remain in the UK for a short time before returning to their country of origin, and others allow the option for extension or for transferring to a more permanent British citizenship arrangement.
If you’re currently outside the UK and wondering if one of these visas may be the right one for your immigration journey, let’s take a look at some of them in a little more detail to help you make your decision.
Let’s start with the high potential individual visa. This visa allows someone with the relevant qualifications to come to the UK, either for work or study and is designed to allow them to fulfil the potential that their qualifications indicate. They offer a limited timescale of up to 3 years depending on the current level of the qualification you hold, and its equivalence to either a UK bachelors level degree or PhD.
This visa doesn’t allow for an extension and once the 3 year maximum has been reached, you would be expected to move on to another country or return to your country of origin. Alternatively, if you originally enter the country using the HPI visa, then you may be able to remain in the country by way of sponsorship from a UK based employer who is eligible for a sponsor licence.
There will naturally be those however who choose not to remain in the UK, and in making this choice, they may be unlocking the true potential that lies in this visa.
The UK can be considered as a global leader in many fields. Industries such as artificial intelligence, financial services, creative fields and medical research all rate the UK’s output highly, and as such those wishing to work in these fields may wish to work within its shores. The facilities and organisations working within these fields in the UK would also be highly valuable in terms of experience and opportunity to those born overseas and an HPI visa may help them to gain the required access.
As they say however, no one can take away your experiences, and as such if you choose to return to your home country at the end of your visa term, then you also take the skills and experiences you gained. This provides a benefit to everyone involved as a result. The UK gains access to individuals with a high level of potential, who are able to enter the UK labour pool and provide a boost of skills within key industries. The individual is able to access the highest level of facilities and work with UK businesses at the forefront of their chosen fields. Lastly, the country the visa holder originates from, eventually get back a member of their workforce with skills and experience they couldn’t gain elsewhere, without having to make the same level of investment as the UK has within that industry.
In this way, the short term nature of the HPI visa can be seen as a winning idea for all 3 major stakeholders.
The UK Senior or Specialist visa is a unique prospect which makes it possible for a foreign worker to enter the UK for specific working purpose. If you’re working for an international organisation which has a branch within the UK, this visa may be useful for you. In the event that you need to spend some time in your companies UK offices, then this option would allow you to do just that for a limited time. Like the HPI visa, the Senior or Specialist visa doesn’t allow for an extension or for you to directly apply for residence, but you would again potentially be able to apply for a new visa type, such as the sponsor licence visa, if your stay needed to be extended or if the arrangement was something that needed to become permanent.
These visas address the fact that there are often working reasons for someone to migrate to another country in the short term, while headlines may often focus on the idea of economic migration as something with a more permanent timescale, these visas address the reality of short term vocational travel.
There are other visas currently offered which would comfortably fit into this category such as the Sportsperson visa. This visa is suitable for elite level sportspeople or coaches who wish to compete in their chosen sport within the UK. This visa allows them to work within the UK for a period of 3 years, after which the visa can be extended for an additional 3 years. This visa may be useful to those competing in team sports who may find themselves travelling to compete in UK based leagues.
Another visa which would allow short term travel for working purposes is the permitted paid engagement visa. The PPE visa is useful for foreign nationals who need to enter the UK for a specific function of their work. This could be as part of a speaking event they attend in their capacity as an expert, or to take part in new research. The visa cannot be extended and has a time limit of 1 month, after which the visa holder will have to leave.
These short term visas serve a multitude of needs, allowing those who only need to remain in the UK for a short time to carry out their work. If you require one of these visas, you may need to speak with a firm of immigration specialists such as the Immigration Advice Service who can help to ensure your applications run smoothly.
Imogen Loveday is a writer for the Immigration Advice Service.