Graduates of the top 50 overseas universities can apply to come to the UK under a new visa system.
The government has said it hopes the ‘high potential individual route’, launched on Monday, will attract the ‘brightest and best’ early in their careers to work in the UK.
Successful applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree will receive a two-year work visa, while PhD holders can apply for a three-year visa.
They can then “switch to other long-term work visas, if you meet the eligibility requirements”.
Graduates must be over 17 and have completed their degree – equivalent to a UK bachelor’s or postgraduate degree – no more than five years before the date of application.
It is understood that the visa regime has no number limit and applicants do not need a prior job offer. Dependents will be allowed to accompany them.
Only graduates from the top 50 universities in the world outside the UK will be eligible to apply.
The scheme is part of a series of visa offers aimed at attracting post-Brexit talent.
Universities must be in the top 50 rankings of at least two of these lists: Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, or The Academic Ranking of World Universities.
In a list released by the government, eligible universities from 2021 include 20 US institutions, as well as universities from Canada, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Germany, Australia, Singapore, France , Sweden and Switzerland.
The top five on the Times list are currently all in the United States: California Institute of Technology (CalTech), Harvard, Stanford, MIT and Princeton.
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Candidates must also pass a security and criminal check and be able to speak, read, listen and write in English at least at B1 (intermediate) level, which means they can communicate effortlessly with native speakers.
The visa will cost £715 and successful applicants will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge to use the NHS.
Applicants must have maintenance funds of at least £1,270.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “This new visa offer means the UK can continue to attract the best and brightest from around the world.
“The road means the UK will become a leading international hub for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.
“We want the businesses of tomorrow to be built here today, which is why I call on students to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to build a career here.”
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