Graduates from the top 50 overseas universities can apply to come to the UK through a new visa scheme.
The government said it hopes the “high potential individual route”, which launched on Monday, will attract the “brightest and best” at the beginning of their careers to work in the UK.
Applicants with a bachelor’s or master’s degree who are successful will be given a two-year work visa, while PhD-holders can apply for a three-year visa.
They will then be able to “switch to other long-term employment visas, if you meet the eligibility requirements”.
Graduates must be over 17 and have been awarded their degree – equivalent to a UK bachelor’s or postgraduate degree – no more than five years before the application date.
The visa scheme is understood to not have a limit on numbers and candidates do not need a prior job offer. Dependents will be allowed to accompany them.
Only graduates from the world’s top 50 universities outside the UK will be able to apply.
The scheme is part of a series of visa offers to attract talent post-Brexit.
The universities must appear 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 published by the government, the eligible universities from 2021 comprise 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 US: California Institute of Technology (CalTech), Harvard, Stanford, MIT and Princeton.
Candidates must also pass a security and criminal check, and be able to speak, read, listen and write English to at least the B1 (intermediate) level, which means they can communicate without effort with native speakers.
The visa will cost £715 and successful applicants will have to pay the immigration health surcharge to use the NHS.
Those applying must have maintenance funds of at least £1,270.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “This new visa offer means that the UK can continue to attract the best and brightest from across the globe.
“The route means that the UK will grow as 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 forge their careers here.”