The Global Talent visa is an unsponsored work visa for leaders or potential leaders in recognised fields. In this way, the Global Talent route is also helping to provide a pool of top global talent from which UK-based businesses can easily recruit highly-skilled migrant workers.
The following guide to the UK Global Talent visa examines the various different aspects of this type of visa, from what this allows and who is eligible to how long this visa will last.
What is the Global Talent visa?
The Global Talent visa provides an opportunity for leaders or potential leaders to come to the UK on an indefinite basis to work in their chosen field, including science, engineering, humanities, social science, medicine, digital technology, or arts and culture. As an unsponsored work route, eligible applicants will not need a job offer, although for those applicants who have never been awarded a prestigious prize in their field, they will need to be endorsed by an appropriate endorsing body as an established or emerging leader.
Having been granted a Global Talent visa, these talented individuals will be able to work flexibly, switch jobs and further their careers in the UK, as desired. This is because if a Global Talent visa is granted by the Home Office, the visa-holder will be allowed to undertake any type of work in the UK, including self-employment and voluntary work, the only exception being employment as a professional sportsperson or sports coach.
Permission will be granted on the Global Talent route by the Home Office for the period of years that the applicant requests, up to a maximum of 5 years on each application.
Who is eligible for the Global Talent visa?
The Global Talent visa is aimed at the most talented and promising overseas nationals who are looking to come to or stay in the UK to further their skills or expand their experience.
As the replacement route for the former Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa, the cap has now been removed under the rules as to how many people can apply. This is because the UK Government is looking to actively encourage global talent to help build back a better UK.
What are the requirements for the Global Talent visa?
When applying for a Global Talent visa, unless the applicant holds an eligible award, as listed in ‘Appendix Global Talent: Prestigious Prizes’, there is a two-part application process. The first part is an application for endorsement, while the second part is an application for entry clearance or leave to remain in the UK.
An individual can make the application for endorsement before making the application for permission. Alternatively, they can make both applications for an endorsement and visa at the same time. Importantly, as the first stage of the application process is for an endorsement only, rather than a visa, this will not extend any current leave held in the UK pending a decision. This means that the applicant must allow sufficient time to get through each application stage before expiry of any existing visa or apply for both stages together.
For those applicants who have been awarded a prestigious prize, they will be automatically considered as showing exceptional talent, enabling them to bypass the endorsement stage and move directly to the visa application stage. These prizes include high profile awards such as the Booker Prize, a Brit award, an Olivier award or a BAFTA, where these and other prizes have been identified by the endorsing bodies as demonstrating exceptional talent.
Under the visa part of the Global Talent application process, an applicant will either need to be issued with an endorsement letter from a relevant endorsing body, where the date of application is no more than 3 months after the date on the endorsement letter, or evidence that they have been awarded a prize listed in Appendix Global Talent: Prestigious Prizes, if requested. The applicant must be the named recipient of the prize, where a prize given to an organisation or group that the applicant is associated with will not be acceptable.
How to apply for a Global Talent visa
When using the two-stage process, the application for endorsement must be to an endorsing body, albeit via the Home Office, in the field relevant to the applicant. This application must be made online, paying the endorsement fee and using the link to “Global Talent endorsement – stage 1” on the GOV.UK website. Applicants seeking endorsement by Tech Nation must also complete the additional form found on the Tech Nation website.
The application for endorsement must meet the specific endorsement requirements under ‘Appendix Global Talent’ for the field relevant to the applicant, where the applicant must be able to satisfy their selected endorsing body that they have been recognised as someone with either exceptional talent or exceptional promise in one of the following fields:
- arts and culture, including architecture, fashion design, or film and television
- digital technology, or
- science, engineering, humanities, social science and medicine.
An applicant for endorsement in the fields of either science, engineering, humanities, social science and medicine does not need to prove exceptional talent or promise, but must be an active researcher within an academic, industry or government research institution.
If the application for endorsement is successful, the applicant will receive an email from the Home Office with a copy of their endorsement letter. Following a positive endorsement decision from an endorsing body, a separate visa application must be submitted within 3 months. The applicant will not automatically be granted a Global Talent visa if they have been endorsed, where the final immigration decision will rest with the Home Office.
The application for the Global Talent visa itself must again be made online, paying the application fee and using the link to “Global Talent visa – stage 2” on the GOV.UK website.
As part of the visa application, applicants will be required to prove their identity and provide a number of documents in support. The applicant may also need to attend an appointment to enrol their biometric information at either an overseas visa application centre, if applying from outside the UK, or at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point, if applying to switch to the Global Talent route from inside the UK.
What supporting documents are needed for a Global Talent visa?
When applying for approval from an endorsing body, the applicant will be required to provide a number of detailed documents in support, so as to demonstrate either exceptional talent or promise in their specialised field. The evidential requirements for endorsement for a Global Talent visa will differ depending on the applicant’s field of expertise.
In support of their endorsement application there will be both general and specific evidential requirements, as set out under Appendix Global Talent of the Immigration Rules and in the online Home Office guidance. The applicant will therefore need to carefully assess the evidential requirements for the endorsing body relevant to their skillset.
When making an application for the Global Talent visa, a number of documents will also be needed. These include a valid passport or other travel document to prove the applicant’s identity and nationality, together with a valid tuberculosis certificate, where applicable.
Additionally, if an applicant has been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship by either a Government or international scholarship agency covering their fees and living costs for study in the UK in the 12-month period prior to their application, they must also provide written consent to their visa application from that Government or agency.
If an applicant has won a prestigious prize, the UK Home Office will look at publicly available information, such as the award organisation’s website, to confirm that they have won. The applicant will only be asked for evidence of their win if this cannot be found.
How much does it cost to apply for a Global Talent visa?
The cost of applying for a Global Talent visa is £716 if an approval letter is not required or £192 if an approval letter is not required.
An applicant on the Global Talent route will also be liable to pay an annual immigration health surcharge (IHS). This will give the successful visa-holder access to the UK’s National Health Service on broadly the same basis as a UK permanent resident.
How long does it take to process a Global Talent visa application?
As applying for a Global Talent visa is typically a two-stage process, the time it will take will initially depend on the endorsement stage. This first stage of the application process can take between 5-8 weeks, although those applying in certain fields may benefit from a fast-tracked endorsement decision within 1-3 weeks, provided certain criteria are met.
An application for the Global Talent visa itself can take up to 3 weeks to process when applying from outside the UK, and 8 weeks to process when applying from inside the UK.
Can dependants apply on the Global Talent route?
A spouse or partner, and any dependent children, can also apply on the Global Talent route, provided they meet the relevant requirements. These include a relationship requirement, as well as an additional age and care requirement for dependent children.
An application fee of £716 must be paid for any partner or dependent child. Each dependant must apply separately. Each dependant will also be liable to pay the annual IHS.
Can a Global Talent visa-holder apply to extend their stay?
A Global Talent visa will initially be granted for the time requested by the applicant, up to a maximum period of 5 years. However, this visa can be extended on an unlimited basis. This means that there is no limit to how long a visa-holder can stay in the UK in total, although they will need to renew their visa before it expires. Each extension can last from 1 to 5 years, where the applicant can choose how long they want their visa extension to be. Any dependants can also apply to extend their stay before expiry of their current visa.
An applicant applying for an extension of their permission on the Global Talent route must have met the ‘earned money’ requirement during their last period of permission and not have had either their eligible award or endorsement withdrawn. Under the ‘earned money’ requirement, the applicant must have evidence that they earned money in the UK in a field related to the subject matter of their award or field in which they were endorsed, where the endorsing body must continue to be approved by the Home Office when a decision is made.
Does the Global Talent visa provide a path to settlement?
The Global Talent visa also provides a path to settlement. This means that having lived in the UK on this route for a period of either 3 or 5 years, depending on which field the visa-holder works in and how they applied for their visa, and provided they meet the other relevant requirements to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR), they and their dependants can apply to permanently settle in the UK. Once ILR has been granted, this will allow the family to live and work in the UK without any time restrictions.
If applying for ILR, as with an extension application, the applicant must be able to show that their award or endorsement has not been withdrawn, and that they have earned money in the UK linked to their expert field during their last grant of leave. They must also be able to satisfy an English language and knowledge of Life in the UK requirement.
Global Talent visa FAQs
What is a Global Talent visa?
The Global Talent visa is for leaders or potential leaders to come to the UK on an indefinite basis to work in their chosen field of either science, engineering, humanities, social science, medicine, digital technology, or arts and culture.
How easy is it to get a Global Talent visa?
For most individuals, there will be a two-part application process to apply for a Global Talent visa, involving an application for endorsement and for the visa itself, although applicants with eligible awards in their field will bypass the endorsement stage.
How long can you stay in the UK on a Global Talent visa?
Permission will be granted on the Global Talent route for the number of years that the applicant requests, up to a maximum of 5 years on each application. The Global Talent route is also a route to permanent settlement.
What work can I do on a Global Talent visa?
A Global Talent visa-holder will be able to work flexibly, switch jobs and further their careers in the UK. They can also undertake self-employment and voluntary work, the only exception being employment as a professional sportsperson or coach.
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.