The United Kingdom’s (UK) Global Talent Visa is aimed at exceptionally talented or exceptionally promising individuals in specific fields who intend to work in the UK.

The Qualification Criteria

In order to qualify for a Global Talent Visa, the applicant must be recognised as a leader, or a potential leader in one of the following fields: –

  1. Academia or research.
  2. Art and culture.
  3. Digital technology.

The applicant must also be at least eighteen years of age at the point they apply for the visa and before applying, they must either: –

  1. Have been awarded a qualifying prestigious prize; or
  2. Have obtained an endorsement from one of the Home Office Endorsing Bodies which include:-
  • Art Council England – for the arts, culture, architecture, fashion, film and television
  • Royal Academy of Engineering – for engineering.
  • Royal Society – for natural sciences and medical science research.
  • Tech Nation – for digital technology.

It is important to note that each of the approved Endorsing Bodies have their own eligibility criteria and process for endorsement, although generally speaking, applicants can expect their application to be assessed on one the following criteria: –

  1. Exceptional Talent Criteria – to assess individuals who can demonstrate that they are internationally recognised at the very highest level as leaders in their chosen fields of specialism; or
  2. Exceptional Promise Criteria – to assess individuals who, whilst at an early stage in their career, have demonstrated exceptional promise and are considered to become leaders in their specialist field.

Application Process  

If the applicant has been awarded a qualifying prestigious prize or has obtained an endorsement from a Home Office Endorsing Body, then they will be able to move to the next stage in order to apply for the Global Talent Visa.  If the applicant is relying upon an endorsement, then they will need to apply for the visa within three months of obtaining the endorsement.  Applicants based abroad will be able to apply for the Global Talent Visa from the country of their nationality or a country where they are ordinarily resident.  If the applicant is already in the UK, then they may be able to switch their status and apply for the Global Talent Visa provided they are not in the UK under certain immigration categories including here as visitors or on short-term student visas.

How long can an applicant stay in the UK?

If the visa application is successful, then the applicant will be issued with a visa which will enable them to live and work in the UK for a period of up to five years at a time.  Before the end of this five year period, the applicant can either apply to extend their visa or if they satisfy the requirements for settlement, then they can apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.  Currently, there is no limited as to how long an applicant can stay in the UK in total, but they will need to renew their visa before it expires and each extension can last from one to five years.  In order to extend the visa however, the applicant will need to meet all the extension criteria and this incudes demonstrating that the endorsement has not been withdrawn by the Endorsing Body and that they have earnt money in the UK in the field relating to their endorsement or related to their qualifying prestigious prize.

Activities which applicants can undertake in the UK

Successful Global Talent Visa holders are permitted to work in the UK including taking self-employment but they will be prohibited from undertaking work as a professional sports person or sports coach.  Subject the meeting certain eligibility criteria, they may also study in the UK.  It is also bearing in mind that Global Talent Visa holders can also bring to the UK their dependent spouse or partner, along with dependent children who are under the age of eighteen at the time of the initial visa application.  The date of the visa application is the date the online application is filed.

Applying for settlement in the UK

Generally, an applicant will become eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK (also known as settlement), after they have had three years continuous residence in the UK (the qualifying period for settlement is five years if the applicant’s recent endorsement was granted under the “Exceptional Promise” criteria by the Arts Council England or Tech Nation).

Qualifying Criteria for indefinite leave to remain

The applicant must demonstrate that they meet all of the UK Immigration rules and these include the following:-

  1. Having spent a continuous period of three or five years in the UK.
  2. Continuing to be endorsed by an approved Home Office Endorsing Body.
  3. Meeting the ongoing residence criteria, i.e have not been absent from the UK for more than one hundred and eighty days in any continuous twelve month period during the relevant qualifying period although it is worth bearing in mind that the Home Office do have exemptions for certain Researchers who have spent time outside the UK for research purposes provided those activities were related to their specialist field.
  4. Having met the Life in the UK Test requirement and the mandatory B1 English criteria.
  5. Having earnt money in the UK in a field related to the applicant’s endorsement or qualifying prestigious prize during their last grant or permission to enter or remain in the UK.

The above are some of the main requirements for settlement under the current UK’s immigration rules. It is also worth bearing in mind that currently, the Home Office fee to apply for the visa is £623.00 and this payment is made in two parts, namely £456.00 when the applicant applies for their endorsement and £167.00 when they apply for the visa. If the applicant is applying based on having been awarded a qualifying prestigious award, then they will need to pay the full visa fee of £623.00 at the time of applying for the visa.  If the applicant is including their partner and/or children (under the age of eighteen) in their application, then each family member will also need to pay the same application fee of £623.00.  In addition, the applicant and each family member will need to pay the Home Office’s immigration health surcharge and this is £624.00 per year for each person applying although there is a reduced fee payable of £470.00 per year for visa and immigration applicants who are under the age of eighteen at the time of the application).  Currently, the fee for applying for indefinite leave to remain is £2,404.00, for each person applying and there is no reduction for those who are under the age of eighteen at the time of the application.