Global Talent Visa - Extension & ILR
For centuries, the UK has been a magnet for the best minds and talent from around the world, especially in academia, scientific research, and the arts. In more recent years, the UK has established a strong global reputation for digital technology, especially in specialist areas such as fintech (financial technology), green technology, and AI. Indeed, in 2019, according to Tech Nation, the UK’s tech sector outgrew that of the US and China, while tech firms secured more investment funds than France and Germany combined. While growth has been strong in recent years, businesses and the government know that to sustain this, external talent is vital. One of the primary vehicles to encourage expertise to come to the UK from around the world is the Global Talent visa. In this article, we will explain how those already in the UK on a Global Talent visa can apply for an extension or indefinite leave to remain.
Should I Extend My Global Talent Visa Or Apply For ILR?
Global Talent visa holders who intend to remain in the UK in the long term will tend to apply for settlement (i.e. indefinite leave to remain – ILR). ILR confers considerable advantages, including removing the need to apply for further visas, greater flexibility when it comes to employment and study, and there is no requirement to pay the costly immigration healthcare surcharge. After a year of holding ILR, it is then possible to apply for British citizenship. In some cases, perhaps because they do not qualify for ILR or because they do not plan to stay in the UK, individuals will apply to extend their visa. The choice you make will very much depend on your circumstances and whether you meet the continuous residence requirement for ILR (i.e. you have spent no more than 180 days in any 12-month period outside of the UK).
Another consideration is timing; the Global Talent visa can be extended from anywhere between one and five years. Hence if initially applied for a Global Talent visa for less than the time required to apply for ILR, then extension may be the only option available.
Some Global Talent visa holders are also able to benefit from an accelerated route to ILR, depending on the category you were admitted under, as follows:
- a recognised leader (‘exceptional talent’) - after living and working in the UK on this visa for three years
- an emerging leader (‘exceptional promise’) - after living and working in the UK on this visa for five years
There are very few visa options in the UK that provide accelerated settlement (the other being the investment visa), hence this is of considerable advantage to those classed as ‘recognised leaders’.
What Are The Eligibility Criteria For A Global Talent Visa Extension?
Towards the end of your current Global Talent visa, you will be able to apply to extend as long as the endorsing body which initially backed your application have not withdrawn their endorsement, and you can prove that you have been able to make money from your expertise in the UK during your time here. To meet this latter requirement, you will need to provide evidence showing your earnings (there is no set minimum for this), in the form of:
- a letter from your employer confirming your earnings
- personal bank or building society statements clearly showing payments from your employer or a limited company of which you are a director
- an HMRC tax statement showing details of declarable taxable income on which tax has been paid or will be paid in a tax year
- an HMRC document produced by an employer showing your taxable income; such as a P60
- an HMRC tax return, or;
- dividend vouchers
If you do choose to extend and you have dependant family members with you in the UK, they will need to apply separately for a visa extension.
The current fee for a Global Talent visa extension is £608.00 per person. You will also need to pay the immigration healthcare surcharge of £624 per year.
What Are The Eligibility Criteria For ILR For Global Talent Visa Holders?
As outlined above, if you are coming to the end of your current Global Talent visa, you may be able to apply for ILR if you have lived in the UK continuously (i.e. not been outside of the UK for more than 180 days in any 12-month period), after three or five years (depending on the type of visa you hold). Like the extension eligibility rules, you will need to provide evidence that you are still endorsed by the endorsing body which initially backed your application, and you will still need to be in the same field of work in which you were in when you came to the UK on your Global Talent visa.
In addition, you will need to provide documentary proof that you have passed a ‘Life in the UK’ test and that you meet the English language requirements. The latter can be met by having an English language qualification at B1, B2, C1 or C2 level or a degree taught or researched in English. You will not need to prove your English language proficiency if you are 65 or older or you are from one of the exempted countries.
The application fee for ILR is £2,389 for each person applying and an extra £800 if you choose to use the super-priority service (which provides a decision on the next working day).
Having chosen to come to the UK to use your expertise and skills here, it is important to plan ahead before your Global Talent visa expires. If you are unsure of the best route forward in terms of your UK immigration status, consider speaking to Immigration Lawyers who can clarify your options and the best route to achieve your long term objectives. They will also be able to clarify your eligibility for an extension, ILR, or another visa type if you are considering making a change.