The Global Talent visa is a relatively new immigration route, having been launched in the UK on 20th February 2020 to replace the Tier 1 Exceptional talent visa. The Global Talent Visa is intended for individuals from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) who are recognised as a leader (exceptional talent), an emerging leader (exceptional promise) or have been endorsed under the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) endorsed funder option.
The application process for a Global Talent visa is split into two stages: 1) applying to the Home Office for endorsement as a leader or an emerging leader in your particular field, and 2) applying for the Global Talent visa. During stage 2, the Home Office takes into consideration immigration-related aspects, including whether any of the general grounds for refusal apply and, if the applicant is already in the UK, they can switch into the Global Talent category from another visa type. While it is possible to apply for both stages at the same time, most will apply for their endorsement first, and then once secured will apply for the Global Talent Visa. The risk of applying for both at the same time is that if the endorsement stage is not successful, then this will result in a refusal of the visa, and no refund will be offered by the Home Office.
The benchmark for a Global Talent Visa is undoubtedly high, however, this should not dissuade potential applicants. The main eligibility criteria for the Global Talent Visa is the endorsement received in stage one of the application. An endorsement is provided by one of the endorsing bodies, which include:
The Global Talent Visa guidance document outlines in detail how candidates are assessed as being leaders or emerging leaders, and how in particular it can be demonstrated the applicant has made a significant contribution within their respective field. For example, the digital technology section, which is particularly detailed, explains that suitable applicants may have a proven track record of advancing their sector. This may be demonstrated by evidence of mentorship, conferences at which they have spoken, and their active participation on online development platforms such as Github and Stack Overflow.
Having secured an endorsement from an endorsing body, Global Talent Visa applicants can then proceed onto stage 2. The document/evidence requirements for stage 2 are not extensive, especially as candidates will have already satisfied the Home Office that they are suitable by securing endorsement. According to section W7.2 of Appendix W, applicants must meet all of the following:
“(i) They have been endorsed in this category by a Global Talent endorsing body named in Part W7.
(ii) The date of application for entry clearance or leave to remain must be no later than three months after the date of issue on the endorsement letter.
(iii) The endorsement must not have been withdrawn by the endorsing body”.
In order to apply for a Global Talent Visa, you will need to submit your current passport which will need a blank page for your visa, and your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test. Any documents which are not in English or Welsh will need to be translated and formally certified.
The Global Talent guidance document also confirms in relation to providing evidence of endorsement, “there is no requirement within the Immigration Rules to provide a copy of your endorsement letter when you apply for stage 2; however, it may speed up the consideration of your visa application if you do so”. Hence for anyone who is keen to ensure their Global Talent visa is processed as quickly as possible, it is advisable to include a copy of the formal letter of endorsement.
It may also be useful to know that it is possible to use a valid endorsement provided under the old Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa rules when applying for a Global Talent visa, meaning you will not need to apply for a new endorsement.
If you are currently in the UK you may be able to switch from your current visa to a Global Talent visa. It is possible to switch from a Tier 1 visa, Tier 2 visa, Tier 5 (Temporary worker - Government Authorised Exchange) visa on an exchange scheme for sponsored researchers, a Start-up visa, or an Innovator visa. Again, the key eligibility requirement is to have successfully received endorsement as explained above.
Yes, if you have dependant family members who are from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA), they can apply to join you in the UK. Dependant family members include a partner, any children under 18, and any children over 18 who are currently based in the UK as dependants (i.e. they are not married with children and not living an independent life).
The Global Talent visa application process itself (i.e. once you have endorsement) takes around three weeks, however by using the super-priority service, you can secure a decision by the end of the next working day (or two working days if your biometric appointment is held at the weekend). You can choose to stay anywhere between one and five years, and this can later be extended or lead to settlement.
The challenge when applying for a Global Talent visa is securing endorsement. Once this is received, the visa application is typically very straightforward. If you require assistance with your application, or if you would simply prefer to have the application process handled on your behalf and give yourself the best chance of a positive outcome, it is highly advisable to seek the services of immigration Solicitors.
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