Global Talent Visa

The Home Office will with effect from today open the new Global Talent immigration category to new applicants from around the world. The science community’s reaction to the new proposals have been mixed, with the Government’s emphasis on the Global Talent Scheme being insufficient to quell the negative impact of a no-deal Brexit.

The new Global Talent Visa is an expanded version of the current Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent Scheme) which has been underutilised with only a small proportion of the 2000 places being fulfilled.

The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Scheme has been perceived to be over complicated and has put off would-be talented applicants. The scheme has largely rewarded not ‘what you know’ but ‘who you know’ with applicants being required to demonstrate they have exceptional talent or exceptional promise in their field by providing reference letters from leaders in their field.

The Global Talent Visa enables talented and promising individuals in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, humanities, digital technology, arts and culture (including film, television, fashion design and architecture) to come to the UK and build their careers. applicants must be leaders in their field or have the potential to become leaders in their field, as determined by an endorsing body.

There will no longer be a cap on the number of Global Talent visas that can be issued, with applicants not requiring a job offer before applying, an accelerated route to settlement and dependent family members being able to work. However since the cap on Tier 1 1 (Exceptional Talent) visas had never been reached this will mean little.


The Home Office have expanded the pool of UK research institutes and universities able to endorse candidates and significantly those applying under the exceptional promise category would not need to have been awarded a research fellowship.

The endorsing bodies will be the Royal Society, the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering, Tech Nation, Arts Council England as well as UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Scientific Researchers

UK Research and Innovation will consider applications from candidates operating within the scientific community who will be hosted or employed at a UK research organisation who have been deemed as acceptable by UK Research and Innovation.

Applications under this criteria would be required to provide critical contributions to work supported by a substantial research grant or award from a specific endorsed funder.

Duration of Global Talent Visa

Similar to the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Scheme applicants will be issued a visa for a period of up to five years and will be able to choose how much leave they wish to be granted in a single application.

Importantly applicants endorsed for science, engineering, humanities and medicine will be able to apply for settlement after three years regardless of whether applicants were approved under the “promise” criteria, “talent” criteria or the new “endorsed funder” option.

Applicants will need to demonstrate that they have been ‘economically active’ in activity linked to their expert field and that they continue to remain endorsed in order to qualify for further leave to remain or qualify for settlement in the United Kingdom. There will continue to be no minimum English language or maintenance requirements to be met.

Another significant point to note is that Global Talent visa holders endorsed by one of the bodies for science, engineering, humanities and medicine will be permitted to be outside the country for as long as they need on condition their absences are linked to their professional activities and will not be limited to being absent for no more than 180 days outside of the UK in any 12 month period unlike many other visa categories.

We hope that the changes made to the Immigration Rules with the introduction of the Global Talent Visa will go some way to simplifying the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Scheme to encourage the UK Government’s vision of attracting the best and brightest applicants to the UK.

If you have any questions on the new Global Talent Scheme please do not hesitate to contact a member of our immigration team at JMW Solicitors LLP.

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