On 20th February 2020 the Home Office will open the new Global Talent (GT) immigration category to new applicants from around the World. This is a further step in the development of an immigration system that is fit for purpose on 1 January 2021 when the UK leaves the EU Single Market.
Replacing Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)
On the face of it, this new category is primarily a rebranding of the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category. It is a work route enabling talented and promising individuals in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, humanities, digital technology, arts and culture (including film, television, fashion design and architecture) to come to the UK and build their careers.
Like the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route, applicants must be leaders in their field or have the potential to become leaders in their field, as determined by an endorsing body.
GT applicants will be required to hold an endorsement from an organisation engaged by the Home Office to develop sector specific criteria and consider individual applications on its behalf.
The endorsing bodies will be the Royal Society, the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering, Tech Nation, Arts Council England as well as UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Many of these bodies are already working in the context of the Exceptional Talent route.
UKRI will consider applications from individuals operating in the scientific community who will be hosted or employed at a UK research organisation deemed acceptable by UKRI. Applicants must provide critical contributions to work supported by a substantial research grant or award from a specific endorsed funder.
Visas will be issued for a period of up to five years, however applicants will be able to choose how much leave, in whole years, up to a maximum of five years they wish to be granted in a single application. This means that GT applicants who only wish to come to the UK for two years in this category will not need to pay the maximum five-year Immigration Health Surcharge payment.
GT migrants will be eligible to obtain settlement (indefinite leave to remain) in the UK. Applicants endorsed by endorsing bodies responsible for science, engineering, humanities and medicine will be able to apply for settlement after three years regardless of whether they were approved under the “promise” criteria, “talent” criteria or the new “endorsed funder” option.
To extend or settle in the category, applicants will need to show they have earned money in the UK during their last grant of leave linked to their expert field and they must remain endorsed. The GT category will continue to have no minimum English language or maintenance requirements to be met.
There will be more freedom for GT migrants when it comes to absences abroad and eligibility for indefinite leave to remain (ILR). Unlike other categories where applicants must not spend more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 month period, GT migrants endorsed by one of the bodies for science, engineering, humanities and medicine will be permitted to be outside the country for as long as they need on condition their absences are linked to their professional activities.
Unlike its predecessor, the GT category will not be subject to a cap on the number of applicants, ensuring all migrants who can meet the qualifying criteria will be able to secure entry subject to successful visa checks.
The Government often talks about an “Australian-style” Points Based System as the ideal model for selecting migrants with the attributes that the country needs in order to flourish as an independent nation outside the EU. It is curious therefore that the new scheme has been taken out of the current points-based framework and inserted into an appendix of the Immigration Rules (Appendix W – Workers).
How We Can Help
Magrath Sheldrick LLP will be delighted to help overseas citizens and their employers with applications to come to the UK under this scheme. Do not hesitate to contact us for further guidance.