The Global Talent visa is open for the most highly skilled individuals in certain fields to come to the UK without a job offer, provided they are endorsed by a recognised UK body.
This route is designed to attract recognised global leaders and promising individuals in science, humanities, engineering, the arts and digital technology.
Numerous advantages are available through the Global Talent visa, including:
- you can work for an employer, the director of a company, or be self-employed in the field you were endorsed
- if a company wishes to employ you, they do not have to hold a UK Sponsor Licence
- you can apply for settlement after five years if you enter the UK on the Exceptional Promise route or three years if you gain a Global Talent visa
- You are free to change jobs without having to tell the Home Office
In comparison with other visas, the Global Talent visa is flexible. Individuals can apply for any period of visa between one year and five years. Although the rules allow for extension applications it may not be necessary for the migrant to extend their visa because settlement (indefinite leave to remain) can be acquired without extension.
The rules allow the migrant to work in any kind of job within their endorsement category, for example, if a candidate gets endorsed by Tech Nation in an expert field then they can take on any job in digital technology within the same expert field. However, it is important to bear in mind that if the migrant applies for either extension or settlement, they must show that they have earned money in the UK and that these earnings were linked to the expert field which led to their initial endorsement.
But, as you can see, these requirements are broadly stated, and the possibility of setting up your own business provides a lot of scope and flexibility.
Extension and settlement applications do not require any further endorsement from the endorsing body unless the endorsement has been withdrawn.
What is the Global Talent visa?
The Global Talent visa is a UK immigration category for talented and promising people in specific sectors such as sciences, the humanities, engineering, the arts, and technology, wishing to work in the UK.
The Global Talent visa replaced the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa category in February in 2020. The Global Talent visa leads to settlement after 3 years if you are deemed a talent, or 5 years if you have been considered a promising talent.
After attaining settlement, and the required residency period in the UK, you may be able to apply for British Citizenship
Who can get a Global Talent visa?
To be considered for entry under the Global Talent visa, all applicants must obtain an endorsement from one of six approved endorsing bodies.
If you are applying for endorsement in the field of science, engineering, medicine, the social science or the humanities, or other academic roles and research the Home Office will forward your application to Royal Society, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Royal Academy of Engineering, or the British Academy. One of these endorsing bodies will then make an endorsement decision based on your profile and the evidence you provide.
If you are applying for endorsement in the non-academic fields like that of arts and culture and digital technology, your application will be referred to Arts Council England or Tech Nation.
It is important to note that each endorsing body follows their own endorsement criteria.
The endorsing bodies have two sets of criteria when assessing an applicant:
- Exceptional Talent criteria for applicants who have already demonstrated that they have made a significant contribution as a leader to their field; and
- Exceptional Promise criteria for applicants who may be at an early stage in their careers and have already shown the potential to make significant contributions as a future leader in their field.
What are the eligibility requirements for a Global Talent visa?
An individual seeking to come to the UK on the Global Talent route must comply with the below two stages:
- Apply for an endorsement, and
- Apply for the Global Talent visa upon the receipt of the endorsement.
For the ‘exceptional talent’ category, you will need to meet the following:
- Significant contribution
- Recognised leading talent
- Academic contributions
- Recognition for work outside immediate occupation
Global Talent visa points
An individual applying for entry clearance or leave to remain must score 70 points.
If you are applying for entry clearance you will score the 70 points as follows:
- You have been issued with an endorsement letter by an endorsing body and
- At the time when making the application your endorsement is not older than 3 months and
- If your endorsement was not withdrawn by the endorsing body.
If you are applying for leave to remain you will score the 70 points as follows:
- Only if your endorsement was not withdrawn by the endorsing body; and
- You have earned money in the field you have been endorsed
Arts Council England endorsement requirements
Arts Council England is the endorsing body designated by the Home Office to review all the applications for endorsement from individuals who work in the following fields:
- Combined Arts
- Visual Arts, except museums, focused work
To qualify for endorsement, you must provide evidence that you are either an established leader in the field or have the potential to become a leader, a leading artist or internationally recognised expert in your field.
You should be able to demonstrate that you are professionally engaged in producing work of outstanding quality which has been published (other than exclusively in newspapers or magazines), performed, presented, distributed, or exhibited internationally. Your activity in the field must be recent (within the last five years) and show a substantial (or developing in the case of an Exceptional Promise Visa application) international track record.
- You also need to show evidence from at least two countries to support two of the following (exceptional talent only):
- Two or more examples of recent media recognition for your work (advertisements are not acceptable)
- You have won or have contributed to the win of a major international prize in your field, for example, the Booker Prize or an Academy Award
- Proof of appearances, performances, publications, or exhibitions in the last five years in contexts which are recognised as internationally significant your field; for example, exhibiting at the Tate Modern or performing music at the O2 Centre
In addition to the above you will need to provide three letters of support from recognised cultural organisations and experts in your field.
The proof should encompass no more than ten documents, and it excludes the three mandatory letters of support.
What are the endorsement requirements for The British Academy, The Royal Society, and The Royal Academy of Engineering?
An individual for endorsement in the field of science, engineering, humanities, and medicine must be an active researcher in an academic, industry or government research institution. The above endorsement bodies allow an individual to make an endorsement application under the fast track or full peer review, depending on your experience, and expertise
Fast track endorsement
An individual must provide evidence of one of the following:
- (a) has held, or has held in the 12 months before the date of the endorsement application, a peer-reviewed research fellowship or award named on the list published by the Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, and the British Academy; or
- (b) has have been appointed to an academic or research position at an approved UK Higher Education Institution or research institute named on the list published by the Royal Academy of Engineering the Royal Society, and the British Academy; or
- (c) you will be hosted or employed in a UK research organisation named on the UKRI published list and will provide critical contributions to work supported by an award or a substantial research grant from an endorsed funder named on the UKRI published list.
What documents will you need to provide?
For an endorsement application under paragraph (a) above, an individual must provide written confirmation from an awarding body named on the list published by the Royal Society, the British Academy, and the Royal Academy of Engineering that they hold, or have held in the last 12 months, an eligible and defined peer-reviewed fellowship or award.
For an endorsement application under paragraph (b) above, an individual must show that he/she holds an eligible academic or research position at an approved UK Higher Education Institution or Research Institute named on the list published by the Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society and the British Academy and they must provide a statement of guarantee from the Director of Human Resources, or equivalent, which confirms:
- the job was advertised, and an open competition was held, or where it was not, an explanation as to why; and
- the applicant should have accepted the job offer; and
- the job title and department in which the applicant will be based; and
- at least 2 references were received; and
- a minimum of 3 academic representatives, from the employing institution, should have been a part of the interview panel; and
- at least 1of the experts from the applicant’s field should have been part of the interview panel, or at least 1 relevant expert, independent of the employing institution, was consulted before the job offer was made
For making an endorsement application under paragraph (c), an individual must show that there are at least 2 years remaining on their employment contract or hosting agreement and that it should be held or should have been employed by a UKRI-approved UK research organisation and will provide critical contributions to work supported by a substantial research grant or award from an endorsed funder by:
- written confirmation should be provided about the award from the endorsed funder which shows the award is worth at least £30,000 and covers a minimum of 2 years; and
- confirming that the award is either;
- should have been funded by an award or one-off grant that was won in open competition; or
- it should have been attributed to a large institutional and a renewable award that is subject to periodic peer review; and
- You should provide just a dedicated declaration from the Director of Human Resources, or equivalent, at the UKRI-approved research organisation, which confirms all the following:
- the applicant is very important for executing the award or grant; and
- 50% of the applicant’s time will have to be spent working on the grant or award by the endorsed funder (Principal investigators and co-investigators can aggregate time spent on multiple eligible awards or grants to demonstrate this requirement); and
- the applicant should have accepted the job offer or hosting agreement; and
- the department and the job title in which the applicant will be assigned; and
- details of the recruitment process where the applicant was not named on the grant application.
Full peer review endorsement
An individual evidencing exceptional talent under full peer review must meet the following:
- has to be an active researcher in an approved field, like related to a university, research institute or directly in the industry; and
- have a PhD or equivalent research experience (including industrial or clinical research); and
- meet 1 of the following requirements:
- the applicant should be a member of the national academy or a foreign member of an academy of any other country; or
- the applicant should have won an award, a prestigious internationally acclaimed prize; or
- The applicant is required to provide a letter of recommendation from a senior member of a known and recognised UK organisation concerned with research in the applicant’s field
An individual evidencing exceptional promise under full peer review must meet the following:
- the applicant should be currently active in research in a relevant field, typically in a university, research institute or in the industry; and
- have a PhD or equivalent research experience (including industrial or clinical research); and
- should be beginning their career or are still in the early stages; and
- have been awarded, or should have held a prestigious UK based research fellowship for the last 5 years or an international fellowship or an advanced post judged by the endorsing body to be equivalent to such a fellowship.
What documents will you need to provide for a full peer review endorsement?
An individual applying for full peer review endorsement must provide the following:
- The applicant needs to provide a CV which details their career and publication history; and
- The applicant should provide a letter of personal recommendation from a UK based eminent personality to support their Global Talent application which includes all of the following:
- how the author is connected to the applicant; and
- the applicant’s achievements and glories in the relevant field; and
- how the author considers and concludes the applicant shows exceptional talent or promise; and
- the contribution of the applicant that he/she would make to UK research excellence and wider society
Tech Nation STEM visa requirements
The designated endorsing body by the Home Office to assess applications from a digital background is Tech Nation.
An individual for endorsement in the field of digital technology must show:
- if they are a technical applicant, they need to provide evidence of proven technical expertise with the latest technologies in building, using, deploying, or exploiting a technology stack and building technical infrastructure; or
- if they are a business applicant, they need to provide evidence of proven commercial investment or product expertise in building digital products or leading investments in significant digital product businesses.
An individual applying for an endorsement in the field of technology evidencing exceptional talent must:
- The applicant must show that they have been recognised as a leading talent in the digital technology sector; and
- Provide evidence of 2 of the following:
- The applicant should have a proven track record for innovation as a founder or senior executive of a product-led digital technology company or as an employee working on a new digital field or concept; or
- The applicant must have proof of recognition for work beyond the applicant’s occupation that contributes to the advancement of the field; or
- The applicant should have made significant technical, commercial or entrepreneurial contributions to the field as a founder, senior executive or employee of a product-led digital technology company; or
- The applicant should have demonstrated exceptional ability in the field by academic contributions, through research published or endorsed by an expert
An individual applying for an endorsement in the field of technology evidencing exceptional promise must:
- The applicant should be able to provide evidence that they have been recognised as having the potential to be a leading talent in the digital technology field; and
- provide evidence of at least 2 of the following:
- The applicant should have at least 2 examples of innovation as a founder of a product-led digital technology company or as an employee working on a new digital field or concept; or
- The applicant should be able to provide proof of recognition for work beyond the applicant’s occupation that contributes to the advancement of the field; or
- The applicant should have made significant technical, commercial or entrepreneurial contributions to the field as a founder or employee of a product-led digital technology company; or
- The applicant should have at least 2 examples of exceptional ability in the field by academic contributions, or through research endorsed by an expert.
Who is eligible for a Global Talent visa in digital technology?
The Global Talent visa in digital technology welcomes the brightest tech talents to join and contribute to the UK’s digital technology sector. Each applicant is expected to demonstrate to the endorsing body (Tech Nation) a successful career history as an innovator in the field of digital technology either:
- as a recognised leader in the digital technology industry (exceptional talent)
- as an emerging leader in the digital technology industry (exceptional promise)
Note the following text from Home Office rules: “Tech Nation accepts applications from applicants with technical and business skills in the digital technology sector.”
So, this basically applies to the applicants who showcase exceptional technical skills with major focus on expertise in dealing with the latest technologies. Applicants should be practitioners who have a varied skill set, ranging from building to deploying to designing the technical infrastructure.
For business applicants, the criteria focus on exhibiting commercial as well as investment expertise while dealing with digital products (including leading investments).
What documents do I need to provide for endorsement by Tech Nation?
The documents required vary from case to case, but they include:
An individual applying for an endorsement to Tech Nation will need to provide:
- An up-to-date CV with career and publication history included,
- Three dated letters of recommendations from 3 different well-established organisations acknowledged as experts in the digital technology field, and
- At least 10 pieces of evidence relevant to your field of expertise and this may include letters of mentorships, recommendation letters, employment documents, evidence of establishing a successful technology business, and many more.
If and as applicable:
- Evidence of any active businesses established or businesses that have been dissolved in the last five years, which must have been commercially successful or otherwise demonstrate how the applicant meets the endorsement criteria
- Evidence of one or more examples of innovation in the field of digital technology
- Proof of recognition for work outside the applicant’s immediate occupation that has contributed to the advancement of the sector (they must have a proven history/record that does not simply include the regular day to day responsibilities but proves that the applicant has made a significant contribution towards the advancement of the related industry). For eg: mentoring in the technological field through the educational establishment, or any structured mentoring programmes, or open-source code sharing to give back to the tech community through various code sharing platforms that have attracted reuse, or publication of op-ed articles in reputed sources
- Evidence that the applicant has made significant technical, commercial, or entrepreneurial contributions in the digital technology sector as either a founder, senior executive or employee of a product-led digital technology company. Such evidence should show tangible significance – for example, revenue increase, breaking into new markets or segments, savings for customers, etc.
- Evidence that the applicant has demonstrated exceptional ability in the field by making academic contributions through research published or otherwise endorsed by a research supervisor or other expert.
As far as the recommendation letter is concerned, an applicant should possess 3 dated ones, each one of them duly attested by 3 high positioned members of 3 different organisations that have a proven track record of contributing to the growth of the digital technology industry.
Note: The members should be at a senior level and should also have exposure with the skills that you possess, to add credibility to your recommendation letter.
- The letters should at least:
- include details of the author’s credentials (for example, a curriculum vitae)
- include details of how the recognised expert knows the applicant
- include the applicant’s achievements in the specialist field, and how, in the opinion of the recognised expert, the applicant exhibits exceptional talent or exceptional promise
- include how the applicant would benefit from living in the UK and the contribution they would make to the UK digital technology sector
- include details of any future professional engagements the applicant has in the UK, where applicable.
How long does it take for an endorsement to be decided?
An endorsement application is generally decided within 28 days, subject to having submitted all documents in time, and no further enquiries being raised by the endorsing body and any current COVID restrictions or impact on processing.
What should I do if my Global Talent endorsement is refused?
If your endorsement is refused, you may be able to apply for an Endorsement Review to the relevant endorsement body.
How do I apply for a Global Talent visa?
The first step is to apply online for an endorsement.
To apply for a Global Talent Visa endorsement in the digital technology sector, you need to apply for a Tech Nation Visa endorsement.
Once you have successfully received an endorsement, you will get an email from the Home Office with an attached copy of the endorsement letter, following which you can proceed with your Visa Application.
If your application is refused you can request an endorsement review.
You should apply for your visa within three months of receiving your letter of endorsement.
You can apply for a Global Talent visa from either within the UK or outside.
Applications within the UK
If you are applying from within the UK, for example switching from one type of visa to a Global Talent visa, the application is made online.
You can apply to switch to a Global Talent visa if you are already in the UK on one of the following visa types:
- Tier 1
- Tier 2
- Tier 5
- Tier 4, except Short Term Student Visa
- Start Up
Applications from outside the UK
An application for entry clearance can be made at the nearest visa appointment centre in your country of residence.
Do I need to meet the English language requirement?
An individual applying to enter this route or extend their stay in the Global Talent route does not need to satisfy the English language requirement. The English language requirements need to be satisfied at the time of applying for indefinite leave to remain.
Supporting documentation for a Global Talent visa application
To make a successful application you will need to provide:
- a current passport or other valid travel documentation
- your tuberculosis test results if you come from a country where you are required to take the test
- your endorsement letter
- pay the immigration health surcharge and the application fee
How long can you stay on the Global Talent visa?
Once approved, an individual can stay in the UK from 1 year to a maximum of 5 years. Thereafter, an application for an extension as many times as you wish to. Moreover, you also have the option to apply for ILR.
Can I bring my family members under the Global Talent visa?
Yes, as a Global Talent visa holder you have the right to bring your dependents to the UK.
A dependant can be any of the following:
- your partner (spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner)
- your child under 18
- if your child is over 18 years of age, he/she should be currently residing in the UK
What is the Global Talent visa processing time?
The application for endorsement usually takes up to 28 to be processed. The visa application can take up to three weeks if you are applying from outside the UK and up to eight weeks if you are applying from within the UK.
However, digital technology applicants may apply to have their endorsement application fast-tracked under certain prescribed circumstances.
In some cases, priority applications may be possible for visa applications, and do note that the applicant does not have to wait for the endorsement to be granted before they apply for the visa – although they run a risk because if the endorsement application is refused then of course the visa application will be refused as well.
How much does a Global Talent visa cost?
Here is a breakdown of the Global Talent Visa application fees:
|Who you’re applying for||Stage 1 – endorsement application||Stage 2 – visa application (from either inside or outside the UK)|
|If you are not from Turkey or Macedonia||£456||Initial application: £152
Subsequent application: £608
|If you are from Turkey or Macedonia||£456||Initial application: £97
Subsequent application: £553
|Dependants||£608 per dependant (in all cases)|
|NB: applicants also have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), which is £624 per year per person OR £470 per year per child under 18 years old|
How to extend your Global Talent visa?
Global Talent visa holders can apply for an extension if:
- the organisation that endorsed you hasn’t withdrawn its approval
- You have made fortunes in your field of expertise during your last period of leave in the UK. Refer guidance notes here:
Note: You will have to apply for an extension before your current visa expires.
The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.