Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa – what’s it all about?

Quite well-known are the Tier 1 Investor visa, which enables a person to invest loads of money into the UK and stay here on that basis, and the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, which enables a person to invest not quite so much money into a business in the UK and run it. Perhaps not quite so well-known is the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa, which enables a would-be entrepreneur to come to the UK and “explore the ground”, with a view to becoming a Tier 1 Entrepreneur.

The remaining Tier 1 category is the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa, which is of a very different type from the others. It has been designed for people who are, well, exceptionally talented, as evidenced by the fact that they have been endorsed as such in their field of activity by a British professional body. But not just any old professional body. It must be one of the following:

Arts Council England

The British Academy

The Royal Society

The Royal Academy of Engineering

Tech City UK

As the Home Office explains, the purpose of enabling people to take advantage of this visa route is to enrich the United Kingdom’s knowledge economy and cultural life”. But, differently from other Tier 1 visa routes, the potential number of visas issued is limited. (One imagines that they don’t want to let too many exceptionally talented people into the UK at once, it could get quite confusing.)

But the Home Office has recently increased the potential number of Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visas that can be issued from an overall 1,000 per annum to 2,000.

Such exceptionally talented individuals are allowed to work in the UK and, rather surprisingly perhaps, they can do whatever kind of work they like. Some readers may remember governmental criticism of now-defunct Tier 1 routes on the grounds that highly skilled/qualified migrants were in many cases ending up “flipping hamburgers”. But perhaps exceptionally talented people, if they are indeed required to flip hamburgers, will introduce new technology and new cultural principles into the activity which will be of permanent benefit to this country.

If you believe yourself to be exceptionally talented this could be a very good visa route for you and your family to come to the UK; like other Tier 1 routes it offers the ultimate possibility of settlement and British citizenship.

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