12 October 2020

Despite the uncertainty regarding the post-Covid-19 economy and Brexit, exceptionally talented people continue to come to the UK with the aim of advancing their career or conduct advanced research.  In the third quarter of 2020, visa applications to Tech Nation exceeded those in the same period in 2019 by 8%.  And many of these applications were for a Global Talent Visa. 

Tech Nation found that the UK’s digital technology sector has predominantly attracted applicants from India, Russia, and the US who have experience in software development, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Tech Nation’s head of visas Matt Jeffs-Watts told IT Pro:

“UK Tech was growing six times faster than the rest of the economy before the pandemic, so we’re pleased to see the UK being able to welcome new talent and continue driving the economy forward. A quarter of those who receive a Tech Nation visa are founders who bring the capital and knowledge required to build leading tech businesses.

“With its convenient time zone for international business, world leading universities, access to global talent, and position at the heart of global finance, the UK is a great place to set up and grow a business.”

However, technology is not the only sector which the UK government wants to ensure attracts the best and brightest in the world.  People in the arts, engineering, medicine, science, and humanities can apply to live and work in Britain on a Global Talent Visa.

What is the Global Talent Visa?

Replacing the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa, the Global Talent Visa is for people with extraordinary talent or promise to live and work in the UK.  To be eligible for the visa, you must gain endorsement from one of the six endorsement bodies approved by the British Government.  

  • If you are applying for endorsement in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, the social sciences or the humanities, or for other academic and research roles, the Home Office will refer your application to the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society or UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). 
  • If you are applying for endorsement in non-academic fields of arts and culture and digital technology, your application will be referred to Arts Council England or Tech Nation.

If you successfully obtain endorsement, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will assess your application and endorsement letter with a view to granting you a Global Talent Visa.  At this stage of the application, they will be considering whether there are general grounds for refusal.  A situation which may result in a refusal is if you have broken immigration laws in the past, for example overstaying on a previous visa or submitting fraudulent documents to UKVI.

You will not need to satisfy an English language requirement or show proof that you can support yourself whilst you are in the UK.  Regarding the latter, it is presumed that anyone who has reached a level that satisfies endorsement for exceptional talent or exceptional promise already has or will quickly obtain adequate financial security.

Applying for an extension

A Global Talent Visa lasts for one to five years.  You can apply to extend your visa if you want to stay in Britain longer than you originally anticipated.  Proof that you have earned an income whilst in the country through working in the field you achieved endorsement in is required to successfully gain a visa extension.  You must also provide evidence that your endorsement has not been withdrawn.  Your immigration history will also be reviewed to ensure your extension should not be refused under general grounds.

Settling permanently in the UK

You can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after three years in the UK if the last endorsement you received was:

  • for exceptional talent from any endorsing body
  • for “exceptional promise” by the endorsing bodies for science, engineering, humanities, and medicine
  • under the UKRI “endorsed funder” fast track criteria

If the Arts Council England or Tech Nation endorsed you for exceptional promise, you can apply for Settlement after five years.

You will need to satisfy the following criteria to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain:

  • pass the Life in the UK test
  • meet the English language requirement
  • have spent not more than 180 days outside the UK during any rolling 12 months during the continuous period of leave relied upon

If you achieved an endorsement by one of the endorsing bodies for science, engineering, humanities, or medicine, and have conducted research which is directly related to your endorsement abroad, such absence/s will not be counted when applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

You can apply for British Citizenship one year after being granted Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Final words

The Global Talent Visa provides a flexible route to advance your career and/or research projects in the UK.  With over 4,000 applications being approved since the route was introduced in January 2020,  the Global Talent Visa has proved a popular choice for those at the top echelon of their field.

To find out more about applying for a Global Talent Visa, please call us on +44 (0)20 7799 1600 or fill in our contact form.

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