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Tier 1 Exceptional talent

Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) is for individuals who are internationally recognised as world leaders or potential world-leading talent in the fields of science and the arts, and who wish to work in the UK. It is a point points based system and is split into five tiers. Points are awarded for different attributes (for example, qualifications, age, previous earnings, English language skills, employment status and source of funds). You will need a certain number of points depending on the tier under which you apply.

Please note that this route is for individuals who would normally need a visa to live and work in the UK and must have had endorsement from a recognised institution.

The Tier 1 Exceptional talent visa is quite different from the Tier 2 work visa and it comes with some additional benefits when compared with the Tier 2 work visa. Importantly, it allows for more flexibility between jobs, locations and institutions. The tier 2 work visa tends to restrict the Tier 2 migrant to a particular job and would even need the Tier 2 migrant to make a fresh application if they want to change jobs.

It is also important to note that the cost of applying the Exceptional talent visa is quite less, significantly, especially if you are comparing it to the Tier 2 visa. It offers a flat rate and may even half the price of the entire cost of the Tier 2 visa.

The Tier 1 Exceptional talent visa also allows the holder the opportunity to collaborate with individuals and institutions in the country. It is important to note that holder would be eligible for settlement after 5 years in this category.

Entry Clearance As Tier 1 Exceptional Talent

Entry clearance under the Tier 1 Exceptional talent migrant route is applicable to persons who are internationally recognised as world leaders in their specific fields or show an exceptional promise of becoming a global leader in his/her specific field; usually in science or art; and have the intention of visiting the UK to take up a job.

Applying for Entry Clearance as a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent migrant

The list below shows the steps by step process for an initial application as a Tier 1 Exceptional talent migrant:

  • Prospective applicants would need to first and foremost be endorsed by a competent body
  • Applicants will then need to request for a Unique Reference Number from the Home Office. It is important that the applicants state the competent body that has endorsed them as the Home Office will need to verify and check for the spots allocated to that competent body.
  • With only a thousand places available under this route, the Home Office will make available the Unique Reference Number (URN) in line with the available slots.
  • The applicant will then need to put together an application backed with supporting documents as well as the URN to the UKVI. Please note that submission must be within ten working days after the receipt of the URN. Note also, that application must be made to the Home Office, as applicants have erroneously submitted applications to the competent body.
  • There will then be a verification stage where supporting documents are forwarded to the approved competent body to double check that the applicant is indeed eligible for endorsement based on set rules.
  • The individual's application will be considered by the UKBA and a decision will be made on the basis of the approval given by the Appointed Competent Body after which the individual will be contacted with details of the result.

If your entry clearance or initial application or Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa is rejected, you can challenge the decision by submitting an administrative review request to the Entry Clearance Manager (ECM). In a situation where ECM still stands with the refusal, you are still able to challenge it by making a request by Judicial Review in the High Court. If you are then able to overturn the decision, you will be granted leave for up to three years and four months

The Application process

The application process for the Tier 1 Exceptional talent is divided into 2 viz: -

  • Endorsement
  • Visa application

Endorsement

Prospective applicants would have to first and foremost be endorsed by a Designated Competent Body (DCB). The Home Office have authorised certain institutions to undertake the process of determining who meets the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa criteria. These bodies are referred to as Designated Competent Body, also referred to as DCBs

The following are the current DCBs

  • The Royal Society
  • The British academy
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering
  • Arts Council England
Exceptional Talent

Mandatory Criteria

The following are the mandatory criteria for been endorsed as an exceptional talent under the Tier 1 Exceptional talent immigration route

  • The individual is an active researcher in a relevant field. Most likely within a university, research institute or within a recognised industry; and
  • Holds a PhD or an equivalent research experience.
  • There has to be a letter of personal recommendation from a UK resident who is familiar with the applicant research works as well as their contribution to knowledge within their fields. It is important that the UK resident who is giving the recommendation is qualified enough to access the applicant's claim to be a world leader in their field

Furthermore, it is also important that the applicant meet at least one of the following requirements

  • A member of a national academic association either in or outside the UK; or
  • Has been awarded a prestigious globally recognised prize; or
  • A reputable organisation based in the UK has provided a recommendation letter. The UK based organisation must be concerned, connected to or interested in their research work. The letter must be written by a Chief Executive, Vice-Chancellor or any other top executive on an official letter head.
Exceptional Promise

Exceptional promise typically refers to the applicant having a potential world class talent. The key word here is the potential. It is important to know the following:-

  • The applicant is an active researcher in a specific field. The research must be within a university, research institute or within a recognised industry; and
  • The applicant is a PhD holder or has an equivalent research or industrial experience.
  • The applicant must have obtained a recommendation from a reputable organisation based in the UK. It is important that there is an established interest of the UK based organisation in research work and the letter should be written by a top level management staff in the recommending organisation.
  • The prospective application must still be in the early stages of his career.

Please note that been endorsed is not the same thing as been granted a visa. Also, endorsement will in no way affect your current leave to remain if you are currently in the UK. You will still need to make a visa application after your endorsement

Visa Application

This is the second stage of the Tier 1 exceptional talent visa process. Having been endorsed, the applicant may then proceed to preparing his Tier 1 Exceptional talent visa application with the Home Office.

Points Required for an Initial application

Applicants must score a total of 75 points if they wish to successfully make an application for a Tier 1 Exceptional talent visa.

Endorsement by a Designated competent body 75 points

Switching into Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa route

In order for an individual who has already been granted entry into the UK to switch into this category (Tier 1 Exceptional Talent), he/she must possess, or must have previously held a leave as either a Tier 2 Migrant, or a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Migrant sponsored in the Government Authorised Exchange sub-category in an exchange scheme for sponsored researchers.

How to Switch into Tier 1 Exceptional Talent

We have listed the steps in making an application for switching to a clearance as Tier 1 Exceptional Talent:

  • The first step after obtaining an endorsement from a competent body is requesting a Unique Reference Number (URN) from the United Kingdom's Border Agency. In the application, the applicant must state the 'competent body' that has endorsed the application.
  • Next is that the Home Office will generate the URN inline with laid down guidelines. Such guidelines may include where or not the Competent body still has allocated slots available under the route.
  • Having obtained endorsement and a Unique Reference number, an application will then be submitted to the Home Office along with supporting documents. Please note that visa applications to the UKBA under this route must be made within ten working days of obtaining the URN.
  • Decision from the Home Office

Refusals

Where an application is refused, such refusals can be challenged using the appeal option; by appealing to the First Tier Tribunal. Appealing refusals must be lodged within ten days from the refusal

Only holders of a valid leave to remain under the following visa categories are allowed to switch into the Tier 1 Exceptional talent route

5 steps in ensuring a successful switch into the Exceptional Talent route

The first step in the process of switching is to obtain a Unique Reference Number from the UKBA. The application must make a request to the UKBA for the URN; as well as stating the relevant Designated Competent Body that is endorsing the application.

It is important to note that the government have placed a limit on the number of places available per year under this route. A limit of 1000 places have been earmarked for this route. If an applicant receives his Unique Reference number from the Home Office, it is most likely that a place is available within the limits for the selected DCB.

Having received a Unique Reference number, the applicant may then proceed to putting together an application along with necessary supporting documents for submission. It is important to note that applications are to be submitted to the UKBA Visa Services and not to DCBs.

Applicants are advised to submit their application within 10 working days of the receipt of the Unique Reference number. Any application submitted after this period will be rejected.

The UK Border Agency will send the relevant documentation to your chosen Designated Competent Body who will advise the UK Border Agency whether you meet their endorsement criteria.

The UK Border Agency will then consider the application, taking into account whether the Designated Competent Body has endorsed you, make the decision and notify you of the result.

A refusal of an application for switching into Tier 1 Exceptional talent is challenged by way of appeal to the First Tier Tribunal within 10 working days of the date of receipt of the refusal letter. Upon successful application, the applicant is granted extension of stay as Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Migrant for 3 years.

Extension of Stay As Tier 1 Exceptional Talent

Application Process

Enumerated below are steps of the application procedure for Extension of stay as Tier 1 Exceptional Talent:

  • The applicant should first of all make a request for a Unique Number for the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) from the UK Border Agency; stating also the appropriately Appointed Competent Body that the applicant is to be endorsed by.
  • The UKBA will now make available to the applicant a Unique Reference Number if the Appointed Competent Body has been afforded a places within the available spots; it is however important to note that there are only 1000 available spots on this route.
  • The individual now makes an application together with the Unique Reference Number and other supporting documents to the United Kingdom Border Agency. This application must be made within 10 working days after he/she received the Unique Reference Number, and submitted directly to the UK Border Agency Visa Services not to the Appointed Competent Body. If the application is submitted after the given time frame, it would be rejected by the UKBA.
    1. Relevant documentation will then be sent to the Approved Competent Body who will inform the UKBA if the applicant meets the requirements for endorsement.
    2. The individual's application will be considered by the UKBA and a decision will be made on the basis of the approval given by the Appointed Competent Body after which the individual will be contacted with details of the result.

If the individual's application for Extension of Stay as Tier 1 Exceptional Talent was rejected, he/she can challenge the decision by making an appeal to the First Tier Tribunal in 10 days prior to the date in which the rejection letter was received. The applicant may be offered an extension of stay for up to 2 years as Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Migrant if the application is successful.

In order to extend your stay under this immigration route, you will need to score at least 85 points.

75 points You are economically active in the same field for which you were originally endorsed by the Designated Competent Body. This can either be in employment, self-employment, or both. The Designated Competent Body must not have revoked its endorsement.
10 Points English Language requirement

Economic activeness is defined as

  • Payslips; or
  • Letter from your accountant stating that you have registered as a self-employed and are actively trading

ILR As Tier 1 Exceptional Talent

Application for an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) as a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Migrant is possible if the said individual has continuously resided for a minimum of 5 years in the United Kingdom. We recommend making an application at least 28 days before the completion of the required 5 year residency period.

Dependants Of Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Migrant

The dependant of a tier 1 Exceptional Talent migrant refers strictly to the spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, same-sex partner, or child of a Tier 1 Exceptional talent migrant.

Entry Clearance As PBS Dependent Of Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Migrant

In order to be granted entry clearance under this route, the partners involved must be at least 18 years of age except where the dependant is a child dependant. Child dependants applying for entry clearance must not be up to 18 years of age.

Switching Into PBS Dependant Visa As A Dependant Of Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Migrant

The Immigration rules now allow for individuals who are in the UK not as a visitor or on temporary admission or release to be able to switch into the PBS dependent visa category. In the same vein dependants of a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent migrant who are in the UK under any other visa category can switch into the PBS Dependant Visa of a Tier 1 Exceptional talent migrant

It is also important to note that switching may not be open to persons who are overstayers in the UK as well. Also, the age definitions as described above also applies when switching.

Extension Of Stay As PBS Dependant Of Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Migrant

If your last grant of leave was as a PBS Dependant of a Tier 1 Exceptional talent migrant, you may be able to extend your leave under the same visa category provided you continue to meet the requirements of your leave to remain. Also, you are be able to apply for to an extension in line with the main applicant's.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) As PBS Dependant Of Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Migrant

Where your last grant of leave to remain in the UK is as a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Migrant, under the old rules which was applicable for applications prior to the 9th of July, 2012, you will be able to apply for settlement if you have resided in the UK for a minimum of 2 years and your sponsor has either been granted ILR or has submitted an application for the same.

However, under the new rules, the PBS dependant will now have to have resided in the UK for a period of 5 years in order to be eligible for Indefinite leave to remain.

How we can help

Our immigration lawyers are experts in dealing will Tier 1 Exceptional talent visas. Feel free to contact us should you need assistance with applying for a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa or have had a refusal, contact one of our Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa London lawyers for a free initial assessment. We will help you to decide what your options are and once you understand your options, will offer you a tailor-made service for the process. Contact us on 020 3540 7770 or e-mail us at info@reissedwards.co.uk

Tier 1 Exceptional talent visa Frequently asked questions(FAQ)

This category was established by the Home Office as a route for individuals who are internationally acknowledged as being exceptionally talented. This route is applicable to individuals acknowledged as world-leaders or younger individuals who show potential and probably may become world-leaders in their fields (sciences or art); intending to enter the United Kingdom to take up job which might in due course lead to full-time residence in the United Kingdom.
You might be issues entry clearance under this category if you are:
  • A recipient of a Designated Award such as the Nobel Prize who is permitted to make an application without a competent body's endorsement.
  • Acknowledged globally as a World-leading talent in your field and you are endorsed by a designated competent body.
  • An Individual of exceptional potential with the possibility of becoming a world-leader in your field and you are also endorsed by a competent body.
You will be required to evince that you have the financial capacity to cater for your needs as well as accommodate yourself while in the United Kingdom without depending on public fund. Also, you are expected to comply with the Tier 1 General Rule as well as be liable to refusal in accordance to the Immigration Rules' Basis for Refusal such as immigration violations and security matters.
You are required to accumulate a total score of 60 points to be eligible to make an application under this category. You will be awarded points as thus:
  • 50 points if you are a recipient of a Nobel Prize; or
  • 50 points if a designated competent body has endorsed you;
  • 10 points for meeting the requirement for financial capability and maintenance.
.
If your application is successful you will be receive an entry clearance for 3 years after which you are permitted to make an application for extension for an additional 2 years. You will be required to make an endorsement from a designated competent body available if you are a world-leader or a potential world-leader seeking for extension.
If you have legitimately spent 5 years in the United Kingdom under the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent category, you are permitted to make an application for Indefinite Leave of Remain (ILR). As a world-leader or potential world-leader, you will be required to get an endorsement from a designated competent body so as to make the application. Please note that there might be a limit to the number of individuals who will be granted Indefinite Leave to Remain under this category.
There are 1000 limited places available under the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent. They are released as thus: 500 places on the 6th of April and 500 places on the 1st of October yearly.
If you are outside the United Kingdom you should make the application making use of the applicable form to the British Embassy which is to pass through the same process as other regular visa categories. For an application within the United Kingdom, you will be required to make an application to the Home Office which will be decided upon and monitored by a central panel.
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