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Applying for Global Talent visa outside the UK: Cost, Requirements and Visa Processing Time

The present UK government has made no bones about its desire to attract top talent from around the world to work in key sectors such as science, engineering, and academic research. Back in July 2020, the government announced an ambitious R&D plan to boost science in the UK. The plan included building a ‘talent office’ within the PM’s own office and making £300m available for the development of new scientific infrastructure. This came on the back of the new Global Talent visa in February 2020. Announcing the new visa, the Prime Minister said, “As we leave the EU, I want to send a message that the UK is open to the most talented minds in the world and stand ready to support them to turn their ideas into reality”. In this article, we will discuss the process of applying for the Global Talent visa, the eligibility requirements, endorsement, costs, and processing times.

What Is The Global Talent Visa?

As the name suggests, the Global Talent visa is specifically intended to provide an immigration fast-track for individuals around the world with expertise in specific fields of interest. The visa is open to leaders and ‘potential leaders’ in the areas of:

  • academia or research
  • arts and culture
  • digital technology

Under the scheme, individuals who wish to be considered first have to be endorsed by an endorsing body as being a leader or potential leader.

Global Talent visas are typically granted for up to five years, after which it is possible to extend for another one to five years. Alternatively, migrants on this route can choose to apply for settlement (i.e. indefinite leave to remain – ILR) after three or five years (three years for a leader and five years for a potential leader). Given that most visas only allow an application for ILR after five years, the government is sending out a message that those with the most talent in their field will be rewarded with accelerated settlement in the UK.

With a Global Talent visa, you will be able to:

  • be an employee, self-employed and a director of a company
  • change or stop doing your job without telling the Home Office
  • bring your partner and children with you as your dependants, if they’re eligible
  • travel abroad and return to the UK

What Are The Eligibility Criteria For The Global Talent Visa?

In order to be eligible for a Global Talent visa, you must be over 18, be a leader or potential leader in academia or research, arts and culture, or digital technology, and be endorsed by an endorsing body. Unlike many other UK visa types, there are no salary or English language requirements that must be met.

The endorsement requirements and process depend on which field you are in, as follows:

Academia Or Research

The endorsing body will check that you are a leader or potential leader in any of the following disciplines: science, medicine, engineering, or humanities. You will need to have:

  • an eligible job offer as an academic or researcher, which must be either:
    • directing or leading an individual or team in a research or innovation project or programme of work
    • being responsible for academic, research or innovation leadership and development
  • an individual fellowship approved by one of the following:
    • Royal Society, for science and medicine
    • British Academy, for humanities
    • Royal Academy of Engineering
  • a research grant that is approved by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)

It is also possible, if you are not eligible under these routes, to have your application peer-reviewed by an endorsing entity.

Arts And Culture

To be endorsed under the arts and culture route, you will need to satisfy the endorsing body you are a leader or potential leader in one of the following:

  • combined arts, dance, literature, music, theatre or visual arts
  • architecture
  • fashion design
  • film and television, including animation, post-production and visual effects

The exact eligibility rules depend on which area you specialise in; for example, those in Combined arts, dance, literature, music, theatre, or visual arts must:

  • have worked regularly in their field for the last five years
  • be producing work that is published or performed internationally and that Arts Council England judges to be ‘outstanding.’
  • prove that their work is well known in at least two countries - if applying as a leader

The endorsing bodies under this scheme include Arts Council England, the British Fashion Council, the Royal Institute of British Architects, and the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television.

Digital Technology

Those applying under the digital technology route must be endorsed as being a leader or potential leader in the areas of financial technology (‘fintech’), gaming, cybersecurity, or artificial intelligence. This will be assessed by Tech Nation, who will determine if you are classed as ‘exceptional talent’, or you have ‘exceptional promise’. To demonstrate exceptional talent, they will check that you:

  • have a record of innovation where you’ve set up or had a senior position in a product-led digital technology company 
- you have a record of innovation where you’ve worked in a new digital field or concept as an employee
  • have contributed to the digital technology sector outside of work, for example, mentoring or collaborative projects
  • have set up or worked in a product-led digital technology company and have made technical, commercial, or entrepreneurial contributions in the digital technology sector
  • have had research published or endorsed by an expert

Costs And Processing Times

At present, the fee for a Global Talent visa is £152 (or £97 for those from an EU country). Each dependant family member will need to pay an additional £608. In addition, there is a healthcare immigration surcharge of £624 per person per year and an endorsement fee of £456. Applications are typically processed within three weeks if submitted from outside the UK or eight weeks if submitted in the UK.

Final Words

The Global Talent visa offers a route for those with leadership and potential leadership credentials in their respective fields to come to the UK and later acquire settlement and citizenship. If you need any help with your application, engaging the services of an immigration Solicitor will remove the burden from your shoulders and improve your chances of receiving a positive decision while allowing you to focus on using your talents in your chosen field.

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"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...

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"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

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