Global Talent Visa

It seems as though Tier 1 of the points-based system is on the way out: the Tier 1 Entrepreneur, Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur and Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa routes are all now closed to new entrants. Only the Tier 1 Investor route remains unscathed.

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa was rather complicated but if you were a very clever person it was doable. The replacement Innovator visa, while not so obviously complicated, has attracted a far smaller proportion of successful applications.

We wonder what the Home Office is trying to achieve, especially in light of its purported commitment to attracting the “the brightest and best” to the UK. In any event, the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa has also been, if not exactly replaced, at least renamed and tweaked a bit. It is now called the “Global Talent” visa and has similarly been removed from the points-based system.

Does this removal really make a difference? Well, yes, in one way: you don’t have accrue points any more. But is this really an important difference? Probably not we suspect. The relevant rules contain the words “If the applicant meets the requirements, the application will be granted. If the applicant does not meet the requirements, the application will be refused”, which are the very hallmark of the “tick box” mentality behind the points-based system and which, as readers of these blogs will appreciate, tend to create difficulties for unsuccessful applicants who get as far as the higher courts.

Anyway, an applicant for a Global Talent visa must in every case be a talented person who has been endorsed by somebody. The somebody must be an organisation that is recognised for this purpose by the Home Office.

The list of such endorsing bodies is as follows:

The Royal Society, for science and medicine

The Royal Academy of Engineering, for engineering

The British Academy, for humanities

Tech Nation, for digital technology

Arts Council England, for arts and culture

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), for research applicants

And if the qualifying field is fashion, architecture or film and television, Arts Council England will pass on the application for review to:

The British Fashion Council, for fashion

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), for architecture

The Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT), for film and television

These endorsing bodies all have their own highly detailed criteria for endorsement and, depending on which is your field of expertise, you will need to research these carefully. But it is important to understand that you may qualify as a “leader” (ie somebody who already has a proven record of remarkable talent) or as an “emerging leader” (somebody who has the promise and potential to become such a leader) or somebody who has been endorsed under the UKRI research funder option.

The application for this route has two stages. Stage 1 is the application for endorsement to the endorsing body and stage 2 is the visa application to the Home Office/UK Visas & Immigration. If the stage 1 application is unsuccessful then of course the stage 2 application cannot succeed.

Applications are possible from outside the UK and, in some situations, “switching” applications are possible in the UK from those who hold eligible leave. This includes those who hold Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visas.

If the whole application is successful the applicant can be granted leave for one, two, three, four or five years, and leave can be extended. Family members (partners and children aged under 18) can also apply.

If leave is extended it is only necessary to submit a stage 2 (visa) application, as long as the endorsement from the endorsing body has not been withdrawn, and similar arrangements apply to settlement applications.

There are, however, other requirements for extension and settlement applications. Applicants must show that they have earned money during their last period that was in some way “linked” to their field of expertise.

This is all that the rule says, so it seems very flexible, but of course it is something that needs to be closely borne in mind. In some cases this requirement might require some creative thinking. But apart from this migrants who hold Global Talent are allowed to work as they please with hardly any restrictions.

And whereas there is no English language requirement for initial and extension applications there are English language and Life in the UK Test requirements for settlement – indeed as is generally the case for working visas

This is a brief overview of this immigration route. We at RSL Solicitors can assist you with more detailed advice if you need it.