The so-called “prestigious prize” visa route was launched in May of this year and was intended to make it easier for academics or researchers to apply to come to the United Kingdom. At the time of the launch of the visa, the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, stated:
Winners of these awards have reached the pinnacle of their career and they have so much to offer the UK. This is exactly what our new point based immigration system was designed for – attracting the best and brightest based on the skills and talent they have, not where they have come from.
It has been widely reported in the Press recently that not a single scientist has applied under the fast track visa route which was intended for prize award winners in science, engineering, the humanities and medicine. Many scientists have been dismissive of the scheme stating it is far too narrow and would only allow a tiny handful of talented people to apply.
But does the Global Talent visa allow people who are not necessarily at the ‘pinnacle’ of the scientific world or creative world to apply? The answer to this is a resounding ‘yes’.
The Global Talent visa allows people who are leaders in their field or potential leaders in their field to apply and be endorsed by a designated endorsement body such as Tech Nation, the British Academy, the Royal Society for Science and Medicine, or Arts Council England. The beauty of the visa is that an individual does not need to be sponsored by their employer and has access to the labour market in the United Kingdom as an employee or on a self employed basis. So for example, academics can work at a university without being tied to them. Actors, performers and musicians can develop their careers in the United Kingdom, supporting themselves for example through teaching. Those endorsed by Tech Nation may have technical skills or business skills in the field of technology and can come here to develop businesses or run their start ups. In short, a large number of people are able to qualify, even if they are towards the beginning of their careers.
The process is a two stage process: an applicant initially applies to the endorsement body and if endorsed can then apply for a visa. This is a category which leads to indefinite leave to remain, although of course there are some criteria that need to be fulfilled before that is possible, including showing that you have worked in your field of expertise in the United Kingdom.
So despite the off putting headlines that nobody has been granted a fast track visa and that you have to be unbelievably talented and experienced, this does not paint the full picture. Successful cases for Global Talent visas have ranged from applicants just leaving university, to people who are well established in the field in which they have built their career. If you fall within the remit of one of the endorsement bodies, it may well be worth you looking at the criteria which they assess against to see if you may be eligible.
We have expertise in submitting applications to the various endorsement bodies and are able to guide applicants through the process. If you would like to discuss a possible application with us further, please do not hesitate to contact us on 020 7401 6887 or contact Alison@gryklaw.com