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Global Talent Visa – Opening on 20 February 2020

The UK has entered in the Brexit transition period on 1 February 2020. The Government to keep (or make) the country attractive to the “best foreigner minds” to come to the UK to share their knowledge, ideas and perspective have rebranded the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa category which opens in a few days on 20 February 2020.

What is the Global Talent Visa?

The Global Talent visa in a few words is a facelift with some changes in the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa category which will then be called Global Talent Visa. This visa category is used to facilitate “talented” individuals in their own field of expertise to be able to come and work in the UK. The sectors for this visa are science, engineering, medicine, humanities, digital technology and arts and culture (including film and television, fashion design and architecture).

This is a unique visa category which contributes to propel the economy by augmenting the UK’s international collaboration, promoting trade and investments, enriching our culture as well as enabling even more research in several fields.

What is good about this visa?

  • Individuals are not tied to a specific job or employer or even location. In other words, they are free to change employers or jobs without any previous authorisation or having to apply for another visa/permit. Please note that doctor or dentist in training and professional sportsperson or coach are not allowable activities.
  • There is no minimum salary or maintenance funds requirement to meet.
  • Settlement (aka “permanent”) visa eligibility comes after three years in certain subcategories (more details below).
  • Time spent out of the UK can be waved for settlement purposes in certain subcategories.
  • There is no knowledge of English requirement, but this will be required for the settlement visa along with knowledge of life in the UK.
  • Dependants family members can accompany the main applicant.

Who can apply?

Those individuals who are already or have the potential to be leaders in science, medicine, engineering, humanities, digital technology, arts and culture (such as television, cinema, fashion design and architecture) fields can benefit from this visa.

How long is this visa valid for?

The first visa can be valid up to five years. It also can be extended later as there is no limit on the number of years it can be extend. However, I may be possible to apply for a settlement visa (permanent visa) after five or three continuous years (more details to follow).

Is it possible to switch (apply within the UK)?

Those migrants who are on Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange subcategory as a sponsored researcher), Start Up or Innovator visas categories are allowed to apply to the Global Talent visa whilst in the UK.

How to qualify?

Individuals must have been endorsed by a recognised endorsing body in their own field of expertise. The Home Office follows a specific list of such endorsing bodies.


For those researchers applying from the fields of science, medicine, engineering and humanities the category has been extended creating two sub routes:

  1. Regular route – where individuals apply for endorsement with their respective endorsing bodies, who will then decide on give or not the endorsement.
  • Fast track route – individuals may be automatically endorsed if they meet one of the following:
  1. holding, or having held within the 12 months before the date of application, a specific peer-reviewed research fellowship or award named on the list published by The Royal Society, The Royal Academy of Engineering or The British Academy; or
  2. having been appointed to an eligible senior academic or research position at an approved UK Higher Education Institution or research institutes; or
  3. being hosted or employed in a UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) approved UK research organisation and will be supported by a research grant or award (at least £30,000) on a minimum two years duration project. The grant or award must be from an endorsed funder named on the list published by UKRI.

Settlement Route and Residency

The Global Talent visa has a fast track settlement of three years UK residency for those ones who have been endorsed in the fields of science, medicine, engineering and humanities regardless if they have a visa under Exceptional Promise (potential leaders in their field) or Exceptional Talent criteria (already recognised leaders).

Global Talent visa holder under other fields of expertise must meet the regular five years residency requirement before applying for settlement.

Another important factor is that in general to be able to meet the residency requirement in the UK for a settlement (permanent) visa, applicants must not have been out of the UK for more than 180 days in any rolling 12 months. The good news here is that time spent out of the UK undertaking research abroad is not going to be taken into consideration for those migrants (and their dependants) on the fields of science, medicine, engineering and humanities. If you would like to get more information or apply for a Global Talent visa please contact us on +44 (0)1733 364040 or visit us at www.ipmglobalmobility.

by Michael Rodriguez – 18 February 2020

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