Knowledge Hub
for Growth


Global talent visa guide: what you need to know

The government has announced a new entry route into the UK: the global talent visa. It is an impressive name but what does it mean to have ‘global talent’? And how could this help or hinder international talent coming to the UK? Here’s our guide on what you need to know about the new global talent visa...  

When will the global talent visa come into effect?

The global talent visa comes into effect on 20 February 2020. If you think that you have not heard much about the global talent visa then it isn’t surprising as the government only announced the introduction of the new visa in January. A few days later, in a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules dated the 30 January 2020, more information about the new visa was announced.

What will happen to the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa?

The Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa will be replaced by the global talent visa. The introduction of the global talent visa and the termination of the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa scheme came as a surprise to some as the January 2020 Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) report on the post Brexit immigration changes, coming into force in 2021, still referred to the continuation of the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa.

However, the government has said that the global talent visa will replace the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa as the new UK entry route for talented individuals looking to work and settle in the UK.

What happens to those who currently hold an exceptional talent visa or those with pending applications?

The Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa will not be open to new applications from 20 February 2020. On the same date the global talent visa will open to new applicants. 

If you have a pending Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa application or you plan to submit your Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa application before 20 February 2020 then the Home Office will process your application, and if you are successful, grant you a Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa.

You are likely to be particularly worried about the speed of the introduction of the global talent visa and the termination of the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa if you:

  • Are about to apply for endorsement (the preliminary stage of the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa application process) or
  • Have a pending application for endorsement by an exceptional talent Endorsing Body or
  • Have just received your endorsement letter to be able to submit your Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa application to the Home Office
  • Are about to apply for an extension of your Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa
  • Are about to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) based on your UK residence on a Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa holder.

The Home Office has announced the following transitional provisions:

Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa application status Transitional arrangements
About to apply for endorsement as the preliminary stage of the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa application process You have until 20 February 2020 to make your application for endorsement. Provided your application is submitted before 20 February your endorsement application will be determined in accordance with the criteria for a Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa
Have a pending application for endorsement by an exceptional talent Endorsing Body As your application for endorsement is already with the Endorsing Body for consideration it will be determined in accordance with the Immigration Rules in place prior to 20 February 2020
Have received your endorsement letter to be able to submit your Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa application to the Home Office Your endorsement letter from the Endorsing Body is valid for three months. You can either use the letter to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa provided your application is made prior to 20 February 2020 or you can use it on or after 20 February 2020 to apply for a global talent visa. If you submit the endorsing letter in support of a global talent visa application then your application will be determined in accordance with the global talent visa Immigration Rules  
Are about to apply for an extension of your Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa If you are a current Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa holder and you need to extend your visa then you can apply to extend it provided that you meet the eligibility criteria and make your application before 20 February 2020

If you are not ready to apply for an extension of your exceptional talent visa before the cut-off date of 20 February 2020 then you can apply for a global talent visa    
Want to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after entering the UK on a Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa If you are in the UK on a Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa then you can still apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) once you meet the residence requirement and the general ILR eligibility criteria. You will not need to switch to a global talent visa before being able to apply for ILR 

Who is eligible for a global talent visa?

The global talent visa is similar to the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa that it replaces. Those who met the eligibility criteria for the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa should also meet the eligibility criteria for the global talent visa.

The global talent visa is meant to attract individuals of talent to the UK who are either:

  • Talented individuals – leaders in their field of expertise or
  • Promising individuals – those who have the potential to become a leader in their field of expertise.

The global talent visa isn’t available for everyone of talent. Like the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa, the global talent visa is sector based and specific. You will therefore only meet the eligibility criteria to apply for a global talent visa if your field of expertise or talent lies within one of the following categories:

  • Science and research and mathematics
  • Digital technology
  • Arts and culture – this sector includes film, television, design and architecture.

Will the new visa only be open to scientific researchers?

Initial press reports indicated that the new global talent visa would only be open to scientific researchers but that isn’t the case. However, the government has highlighted the significance it places on attracting scientific researchers to the UK by stating that specific rules will be brought in to help global talent visa applicants who are applying for a visa in the science and research sector, such as the fast tracking of their applications. 

Will there be a limit to the number of global talent visa applicants?

There is no limit to the number of global talent visas available for the Home Office to issue.

Business immigration solicitors say that although the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa had a limit on the number of applicants that could apply for the visa, the limit wasn’t reached. That is presumably why the government did not think it necessary to impose a limit on the number of global talent visas available, especially given the government’s stated aim is to attract the ‘brightest and best’ to the UK.

Do global talent visas need to be endorsed?

Global talent visa applicants do need to be endorsed by a relevant sector government-approved Endorsing Body as the first stage in the application process for a global talent visa. For those of you who are already familiar with the endorsement process for the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa, it is remarkably similar.

As part of the global talent visa application process is to demonstrate that you are a leader in your field or that you show promise to become a leader, it makes sense that the endorsement assessment is carried out by a reputable governing body of your talent sector rather than a Home Office official. The Home Office still has to carry out the second stage of the application process and decide if you meet the eligibility criteria.

The Endorsing Bodies for the global talent visa have been announced and they are:

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

The type of endorsement you will require will depend on your sector and field of expertise but the Home Office has announced that there will be four endorsement routes.

Type of endorsement Endorsing Body
Appointment for a senior post such as a professor at a university or research institution The British Academy
The Royal Academy of Engineering
The Royal Society
Appointment for a fellowship The British Academy
The Royal Academy of Engineering
The Royal Society
Peer review The British Academy
The Royal Academy of Engineering
The Royal Society
Endorsed funder Those global talent visa applicants who have secured support from an endorsed funder. These applications will be assessed by UKRI.

Global talent visa applicants are asking how the endorsement process fits in with the newly announced Australian style points based immigration system and question what minimum number of points will be needed to secure a global talent visa. However, immigration solicitors can offer an assurance that a minimum level of points is not needed for the global talent visa as the route is based on endorsement rather than points.

How long is a global talent visa valid for?

A global talent visa is valid for a maximum of five years. However, under the new scheme you can say how long you want to stay in the UK for on a global talent visa, but the minimum global talent visa length is one year, and the maximum is five years.

If you know that you only want to stay in the UK for three and a half years then the flexibility of the global talent visa means that you can apply for a four year visa. That has the advantage of you having to pay the immigration health surcharge for four years rather than five.

Can global talent visa applicants bring dependants to the UK?

Global talent visa applicants can bring dependants to the UK with them subject to their dependants meeting the general eligibility criteria.   

Can an applicant later apply for settlement in the UK?

A global talent visa applicant can apply to settle in the UK and secure Indefinite Leave to Remain. To obtain ILR you will need to:

  • Meet the residence requirement
  • Meet the ILR general eligibility criteria.

If you have a choice of visas available to you, such as the Tier 2 (General) visa, it is worth looking at the ILR residence requirements for each visa. That is because some visas, including the global talent visa, provide for accelerated settlement if you meet the sector and talent criteria.

The global talent visa allows for accelerated settlement or ILR status after three years (instead of the usual minimum five year period) if you are a leader in your field (as opposed to ‘promise’) or a particular field of expertise. The global talent visa ILR residence requirement rules say:

Endorsing Body Talent leader in your field or promise Length of residence requirement for ILR
Science, engineering, humanities, medicine Leader in field or promise Three years
Endorsing Body in any field other than science, engineering, humanities or medicine Leader in field Three years
Endorsing Body in any field other than science, engineering, humanities or medicine Showing promise category Five years

When it comes to the residence requirement, the global talent visa rules recognise that visa holders have to travel overseas to attend conferences and carry out vital research to continue their endeavours in the UK. The residence requirement for the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa restricted ILR applicants from spending more than 180 days outside the UK during any twelve month period of your visa relevant to your ILR application.

For some global talent visa applicants it will be easier to secure ILR in three years time because if you travel overseas as part of industry related research and you are endorsed by an Endorsing Body in science, engineering, humanities or medicine your time overseas won't count as part of the 180 day rule.

The global talent visa is supposed to be more user friendly than its predecessor, the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa. Some are questioning whether the new global talent visa is simply a re-branding of the exceptional talent visa by the government. However, business immigration solicitors say that there are some welcome changes with the global talent visa and it is particularly good news if your expertise is in the field of science and research.  

Is the global talent visa better than the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa?

It is a fair question to ask if the global talent visa is better than the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa. The two are remarkably similar in many ways although the government has tried to place emphasis on the desire to attract top scientists and researchers to the UK and is trying to encourage such applications through fast tracked applications and accelerated paths to settlement in the UK.

To immigration solicitors the better or more pertinent question to ask is whether the global talent visa is better than coming to the UK on a Tier 2 (General) visa. For many talented individuals wanting to live and work in the UK, the Tier 2 (General) visa is the obvious answer but it isn’t necessarily the best solution for you because:

  • Tier 2 (General) visa applicants have to find an employer with a Home Office sponsor licence who is willing to sponsor their employment under a certificate of sponsorship. This restricts the number of job opportunities as well as making it harder to change job once you are in the UK. A global talent visa applicant doesn’t have to have a job offer before applying for a visa and can set up their own business whilst in the UK
  • The global talent visa may offer a better and quicker UK settlement than a Tier 2 (General) visa
  • Whilst a global talent visa and the endorsement process may seem like a lot of paperwork it is less cumbersome than long-term sponsor licence compliance whilst on a Tier 2 (General) visa. For more information on Tier 2 (General) visas and sponsor licences, read our guide on how to sponsor Tier 2 visa holders as employees

What next?

If you need advice on your pending Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa application or ILR application or want information and advice about the new global talent visa our business immigration law solicitors can help. Call us on 0800 689 1700 or fill out the short form below.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Your data will only be used by Harper James Solicitors. We will never sell your data and promise to keep it secure. You can find further information in our Privacy Policy.


Our offices

A national law firm

A national law firm

Our commercial lawyers are based in or close to major cities across the UK, providing expert legal advice to clients both locally and nationally.

We mainly work remotely, so we can work with you wherever you are. But we can arrange face-to-face meeting at our offices or a location of your choosing.

Floor 5, Cavendish House, 39-41 Waterloo Street, Birmingham, B2 5PP
Stirling House, Cambridge Innovation Park, Denny End Road, Waterbeach, Cambridge, CB25 9QE
13th Floor, Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester, M1 4BT
10 Fitzroy Square, London, W1T 5HP
Harwell Innovation Centre, 173 Curie Avenue, Harwell, Oxfordshire, OX11 0QG
2-5 Velocity Tower, 1 St Mary’s Square, Sheffield, S1 4LP
A national law firm

Like what you’re reading?

Get new articles delivered to your inbox

Join 8,153 entrepreneurs reading our latest news, guides and insights.

Subscribe


To access legal support from just £125 per hour arrange your free no-obligation initial consultation to discuss your business requirements.

Make an enquiry

X