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Global Talent Visa (An Essential Guide!) | DavidsonMorris

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The UK Government has launched the Global Talent visa for individuals in the fields of science, technology and humanities to benefit both UK academia and industry.

Replacing the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa, the new category is designed to offer fast-tracked entry to the UK for eligible individuals as part of the government’s wider vision to attract the “brightest and best” within key areas of the economy.

The new category will be open to applications from 20th February 2020.


What is the Global Talent visa?

The Global Talent route as been designed to attract talented and promising professionals in the fields of science, digital technology and arts and culture who want to come to the UK to work.

Developed to be open to a larger pool of applicants than its predecessor route, it has been shaped following consultation with a number of professional bodies, including Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) endorsing bodies, UKRI and the wider scientific community and other Government departments including the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Government Office for Science.

It is hoped the new route will encourage more scientific talent to come to the UK such as scientists, engineers, mathematicians and researchers at both the established and early stages of the career spectrum.

The route does not form part of the UK’s existing Points-Based System. The rules governing the new Global Talent category are in Appendix W to the Immigration Rules.

UK employers are expected to take advantage of the new route as an alternative to hiring under the Tier 2 (General) visa for skilled workers, since the Global Talent route does not require sponsorship by an employer and organisations hiring individuals under the Global Talent route will not have to pay the Immigration Skills Charge.


Who is eligible for the Global Talent category?

The scheme is open both to established talent – individuals who can demonstrate they are already leaders in their respective field –  as well as applicants showing ‘promise’ and the potential to become leaders in their field.

Professionals will be able to apply from fields including:

  • Science
  • Research
  • Digital technology
  • Arts and culture, including film and television, fashion design and architecture
  • Engineering
  • Humanities
  • Medicine


What will the Global Talent visa allow?

The Global Talent category offers considerable flexibility to applicants compared with other UK immigration routes:

  • There is little restriction on permissible activities under the route, and individuals can move freely between roles, employers, organisations & locations.
  • There is no minimum salary threshold to meet.
  • There is no English language standard for the category (although the endorsing body may have its own language requirement).
  • The Global Talent category offers a route to UK settlement.
  • Qualifying dependants can accompany Global Talent participants.
  • In-country applications and switching from other UK visa categories will be allowed.


How do you apply for the Global Talent visa?

To apply for the Global Talent visa, individuals will first need to secure endorsement from a Home Office appointed endorsing body relevant to their profession.

The endorsing bodies have been charged with assessing applications from individuals within their respective professional fields, and developing and applying sector-specific criteria and evidential requirements for applications. 

The Global Talent visa endorsing bodies are:

  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • Royal Society
  • The British Academy
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering
  • Tech Nation
  • Arts Council England

This list will be subject to ongoing review.

There are four routes under the Global Talent category applicable to different roles:

  • Peer review – endorsement of applications by The British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering or The Royal Society .
  • Senior appointments – endorsement for applicants with a job offer as a professor, associate professor, reader, senior group leader or equivalent at any UK higher education institution or eligible research institute. Endorsing bodies: The British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering, and The Royal Society.
  • Fellowships – endorsement for those with an individual fellowship (either current or held within the last 12 months), on the list approved by The British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and Royal Society.
  • Endorsed funders – a new visa route for researchers who make critical contributions to work supported by grant funding from a recognised funder. Qualifying applicants will be fast tracked to the Home Office visa application stage with minimal evidential requirements, where they meet the individual eligibility criteria. UKRI will be responsible for assessing endorsed funded applications.


Will the Global Talent visa lead to settlement?

Global Talent participants can become eligible to apply for UK settlement.


Global talent visaSettlement qualifying period
Applicants endorsed by the endorsing bodies responsible for science, engineering, humanities and medicine granted under “promise” criteria, “talent” criteria or the new endorsed funder option.Eligible for UK settlement after 3 years
Digital technology and arts and culture applicants under“promise” criteriaEligible for UK settlement after 5 years


In a significant concession, researchers endorsed by the endorsing bodies responsible for science, engineering, humanities and medicine who spend time outside of the UK for research purposes will not be penalised in their settlement application for absences from the UK directly relating to their field of expertise.


How long will the Global Talent visa last?

Further flexibility is offered to applicants in respect of the duration of their grant of leave. Global Talent applicants can choose to apply for leave in whole year increments of up to five years. The benefit to applicants is that they will have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge only for the period of leave they require, eg three years as opposed to five years.


Transitioning from the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

Applicants who have already secured an endorsement letter under the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent route will be able to apply for the Global talent category while the letter remains valid (for 3 months).

Existing Tier 1 Exceptional Talent leave holders will be able to apply to extend their visa under the Global Talent category.

Tier 1 Exceptional talent holders will be able to apply for UK settlement without having to switch to the Global Talent category. No deadline has been specified for settlement applications to be made.


Global Talent Visa FAQs

When can you apply for the Global Talent visa?

Applicants can make Global Talent applications from 20th February 2020.

How long do Global Talent visa applications take?

Once endorsed, applicants have three months to apply to the Home Office for permission to enter the UK or remain under a new grant of leave. The Home Office expects visa processing for applications made outside the UK to take up to three weeks.

Can you bring dependants under the Global Talent category?

Global Talent applicants will be permitted to bring dependants who qualify under the UK immigration rules.

Do I need job to be eligible for the Global Talent visa?

You do not necessarily need a job or to be sponsored by an employer to qualify for the Global Talent visa. You will, however, need to meet the criteria of the endorsing body relevant to your professional field to demonstrate your exceptional talent or promise.

Last updated: 30th January 2020

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