Last week, the government published a press release announcing a Global Talent route to replace the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route, calling it “a new, fast-track visa scheme to attract the world’s top scientists, researchers and mathematicians”. Our firm assists with many Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) applications for artists and those in the digital technology sector, and we would have been sad to see that option go.
Fortunately, it has not; artists and those in the digital technology sector can still apply for a visa on the basis of their talent, along with scientists, engineers, researchers and academics. In fact, there are almost no changes between the “old” Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route and the new Global Talent route for most applicants. The only changes are positive, in that more researchers and academics should now be able to benefit from this route.
What is the Global Talent Route?
Using the Home Office’s own words, the Global Talent Route is a route for
Talented and promising individuals in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, humanities, digital technologies and art and culture (including film and television, fashion design and architecture).
How does the route work?
There are two stages to the application:
- Being endorsed by an endorsing body
The first step is for applicants to be endorsed by a body with expertise on their topic. The endorsing bodies are:
- The Royal Society, for science and medicine
- The Royal Academy of Engineering, for engineering
- The British Academy, for humanities
- UK Research and Innovation for other scientists and researchers working at specific organisation
- Tech Nation, for digital technology
- Arts Council England, for arts and culture
Endorsing bodies can endorse applicants under the Exceptional Promise category, for those who have the potential to be leaders in their field; or under the Exceptional Talent category, for those who are already leaders in their field.
The Home Office has specific rules on the criteria to be met to be endorsed, and which documents need to be submitted with the application for endorsement.
- Applying for a visa or for leave to remain to the Home Office
Once they have been endorsed, applicants have 3 months to apply for a visa or for leave to remain to the Home Office. For the application to be successful, they will just need to show that they do not fall for refusal under the General Grounds for Refusal, which, broadly speaking, relate to a person’s immigration and criminal history.
When will it be introduced?
The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category which exists currently will continue until 20 February. The Global Talent Route will come into force on that date.
Can I take up any job I want?
You can take up any job except employment as a doctor or dentist in training; or as a professional sportsperson.
You should be aware, however, that when applying for indefinite leave to remain, you will need to show that you have earned money by working in your field of expertise.
How long will my visa be?
You can chose to get a visa valid for 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 4 years or 5 years. If you are applying from outside the UK, you will be given 4 months on top of that (for example, if you apply for a visa for 2 years from outside the UK, you will be granted 2 years and 4 months).
In most cases, we would recommend that you chose at least 3 years; or 5 years, depending on when you will be eligible for indefinite leave to remain (see below).
How much does it cost?
Immigration fees tend to increase every year, in or around April. At the time of this post, the fees are:
- Endorsement application: £456
- Application for leave to enter or remain after endorsement: £152
- Application for a dependant: £608
- Immigration Health Surcharge: £400/year (for example, if you apply from abroad and ask for a visa valid for 2 years, you will be given a visa valid for 2 years and 4 months, and will need to pay £400×2.5 = £1,000)
Can I apply from within the UK?
You can only apply from within the UK if you are currently here on a Tier 1 visa, a Tier 2 visa, a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker- Government Authorised Exchange) visa for sponsored researchers; a Start-up visa or an Innovator visa.
Can I get Indefinite Leave to Remain?
Yes, applicants can get to indefinite leave to remain after 3 or 5 years, depending on their field of expertise and whether they are in the Exceptional Talent or Exceptional Promise category.
In short, those applying in the fields of science, engineering, humanities and medicine can all apply for indefinite leave to remain after 3 years.
Those applying in the fields of digital technology and arts and culture can apply after 3 years if they have been endorsed as Exceptional Talent; or 5 years if they have been endorsed as Exceptional Promise.
In some cases, you can combine the time you have spent in another category with the time spent under the Global Talent Visa.
You will also need to show that, during your time in the UK, you worked and earned money in your field; and that you have not been out of the UK for more than 180 days in any 12 months (but there are some exceptions for applicants in the fields of science, engineering, medicine and humanities who have been out of the UK for the purpose of research).
Can my family members join me?
Yes, your partner and children can come with you to the UK; or join you here. Your family members will also need to pay an application fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge.
If you require advice on this route, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or on +44 20 7401 6887.