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Britain Needs Your Talent

The UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020 and the transition period is set to end on 31 December. Recognising that the country needs to work hard to continue to attract the most talented people to its shores, the Global Talent Visa category was created to replace the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa.

The visa has two routes: Exceptional Talent, awarded to people who have established themselves as pioneers in their field, and Exceptional Promise, for emerging leaders.

The advantages of the Global Talent Visa are numerous, and include:

  • you can switch employers and job roles without permission from the Home Office
  • you can work on a freelance basis or as a self-employed person
  • there is no requirement to speak a certain level of English
  • dependent family members can accompany you
  • you do not have to earn a minimum salary
  • the visa offers a route to Settlement

The application process consists of two stages:

  1. obtaining endorsement
  2. applying for entry clearance (your visa)

Although you can apply for both at the same time, it is best to secure endorsement first. Otherwise, if you do not get endorsed by an approved body (see below), you may lose any fees you paid in applying for entry clearance.

Related Article: See ‘The New UK Global Talent Route - All you need to know’

How do I get endorsed for a UK Global Talent Visa?

The bodies you need to persuade to secure endorsement for a Global Talent Visa are:

  • The Royal Society, for science and medicine
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering, for engineering
  • The British Academy, for humanities
  • Tech Nation, for digital technology
  • Arts Council England, for arts and culture
  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), for research applicants

The official government advice on the Global Talent route states that:

“If your qualifying field is fashion, architecture or film, and television, Arts Council England will pass on your application for review to:

  • British Fashion Council, for fashion
  • Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), for architecture
  • Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT), for film and television”

Endorsement takes typically around two months; however, if you are a senior researcher or academic at a UK institution, hold an approved peer-reviewed fellowship, or will be working for an approved research organisation that meets specific criteria, you are likely to receive a quicker endorsement.

What is the Tech Nation Visa?

If you are applying for endorsement in the digital technology sector, you need to obtain a Tech Nation Visa (another way of referring to Tech Nation endorsement). The UK has one of the world’s most innovative and dynamic tech sectors. If you want to be at the center of development and creativity, obtaining endorsement for exceptional talent or exceptional promise in the digital tech space provides a flexible and advantageous option.

The visa is granted for five years and can be extended for further five. It also provides a path to obtaining Indefinite Leave to Remain and ultimately, British Citizenship.

The criteria for endorsement are high. To qualify for ‘exceptional talent’ you need to meet one of the Key criteria and two of the Qualifying criteria below:

Key criteria

  • Have a proven track record of innovation as a founder or director of a company or an employee of an organisation that was developing a new digital field or technology.
  • Show evidence that you have been recognised for your work outside your day to day job that has advanced the digital technology sector in some way.

Qualifying criteria

  • Have made noteworthy technical, commercial, or entrepreneurial contributions in the digital technology sector as either a founder, entrepreneur, or employee of a product-led digital technology company.
  • I have been recognised as a leading talent in the sector.
  • You can provide evidence to show you have committed to continually learning and mastering new digital technology skills throughout your career.
  • You have had academic research published or have been endorsed by a research supervisor or other expert as demonstrating exceptional ability.

The criteria for ‘exceptional promise’ are the same except for:

  • Under Key criteria, you need to provide more than one example of innovation in the digital technology sector as a founder of a product-led digital technology company or an employee working in a new digital field or concept.
  • Under Qualifying criteria, you need to have been recognised as having the potential to be a leading talent in the digital technology sector.

There are several accelerators programmes you can be accepted on that will ensure your application is fast-tracked.

How has the Coronavirus pandemic affected Global Talent Visa applications?

For many Global Talent Visa applicants, especially those in the arts, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused grave concern about the ability to seek and qualify for endorsement.

Olivia Munk, Harvard and Oxford University graduate and theatre writer, director, producer, and entrepreneur, wrote an opinion piece in The Stage magazine in May 2020 highlighting the worries those applying for endorsement had due to the Covid-19 pandemic closing down many artistic venues:

“From an immigration perspective, I lie awake at night wondering how I will collate the required work samples, press clippings and recommendation letters needed to receive an endorsement in the event that social distancing forbids theatre productions for months, or even years.”

She goes on to say:

“There is a reason that thousands of us fight through the red tape to work in the UK arts industry – it is an innovative, artistically rich and diverse pool of people, and productions are made even richer and more diverse by immigrants. Without us, British artistic institutions would lack the international prestige they currently enjoy. I urge the proverbial ‘gatekeepers’ to seek our talent and drive, but also to consider our needs when making casting, funding, reviewing, programming, and hiring decisions during the lockdown and beyond.”

Final words

If you are concerned about getting endorsement or entry clearance on the Global Talent Visa route, it is crucial to seek expert legal advice. Our immigration solicitors can ensure you submit the most persuasive evidence to support your endorsement application and provide compelling arguments about why your request should be approved.

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