Global Talent visa was introduced by the UK government in the statement of changes of 30 January 2020. The category came into effect on 20 February 2020. Global Talent visa replaces Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa for candidates applying after 20 February 2020, while the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent route remains open for ILR applications only.
Overall, Global Talent visa is very similar to its predecessor, Tier 1 Exceptional Talent. It is probably unfair to call Global Talent a new route, rather, it is a simplification and expansion of the existing rules. Global Talent route is no longer included within Part 6A of the Immigration Rules and was incorporated in Appendix W (W for “work”), similar to the Innovator and Start-up routes. No longer points-based and no longer Tier 1, so what are the differences?
Global Talent visa route is almost identical to Tier 1 Exceptional Talent before it. The application process still consists of two main stages, an endorsing stage and the actual application stage.
Stage 1 Global Talent Visa Endorsement
Stage 1: At the first stage, the application is submitted for an endorsement with the relevant endorsing body (previously known as “designated competent bodies”). The application is being made to the Home Office, however, it is the actual endorsing body that will assess whether to issue an endorsement. Among other things, endorsing bodies will consider the skills, abilities and achievements of the applicant, and advise the Home Office whether the endorsement should be granted.
Important technical point to note here. Stage 1 application is not an immigration application in the standard sense, so it does not extend applicants’ 3c leave while it is being considered (so a person can become an overstayer if his/her leave expires). It is possible to submit both Stage 1 and Stage 2 application simultaneously, but there will be risks involved, so it is advisable that a proper assessment of the case is carried out. The upside is that the application for an endorsement can be submitted by a visit visa holder, though once granted, Stage 2 application will nonetheless need to be submitted from overseas.
Stage 2 Global Talent Visa Endorsement
Stage 2: During the second stage, the Home Office will consider immigration aspects of the application, whether the correct supporting documents are provided, whether the requirements of the immigration rules are met and whether general grounds for refusal apply. Stage 2 application is an actual immigration application, so applicants need to be aware of switching provisions, if applying inside the UK.
During stage 1 application process, the applicant will need to secure an endorsement from one of the endorsing bodies. The applicants can be endorsed as either:
- A leader (previously exceptional talent)
- An emerging leader (exceptional promise)
- Or under the UK Research and Innovation “endorsed funder” option.
The main difference between endorsement as a “leader” or as an “emerging leader”, is the qualifying period before a person can apply for settlement or an ILR on a Global Talent visa route. Rule of the thumb is that leaders can apply after 3 years and emerging leaders after 5 years. That being said, the main novelty of a global talent route (as opposed to Tier 1 Exceptional Talent) is that applicants sponsored by one of four Science bodies will be eligible to apply for ILR after 3 years notwithstanding the endorsement subcategory.
The endorsing bodies 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
For those who qualify under fashion, architecture or film and television, Arts Council England will pass on the endorsement 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
The requirements for endorsement for Global Talent visa will differ depending on the expert field of the applicant. Science endorsing bodies rely on their own internal assessment and have additional information on the requirements on their websites.
Applications for endorsement under Tech Nation route, which seems to be the most common among our clients, will depend on the experience and qualifications of the applicant. The endorsing body will assess whether the applicant has a proven track record of innovation in the technology sector and proof of recognition for this work. For emerging leaders, the home office will look for examples of innovation instead of proven track record. Full list of requirements will depend on the sector and personal circumstances of the applicant.
Fast Track / Accelerated Route
Applications under the fields of science, medicine, engineering and humanities can benefit from slightly relaxed and expanded provisions, as opposed to those for Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent). Digital technology Global Talent visa applicants can also get the benefit of fast-track consideration route.
- The standard endorsement route is outlined above, where the applicant will need to demonstrate that they are active researchers, hold a PhD, provide a letter of recommendation etc., also known as a peer review process. For digital technology applicants, that would involve providing evidence of innovation or proven track records as outlined above.
- The fast-track route is available for applicants who hold or held a specific fellowship award or who were appointed to an eligible senior academic or research position. Those include, for example:
- i) Senior Appointments
- ii) Individual Fellowships
- ii) Endorsed Funders from an approved list contained in Annex 2 of Appendix W of the Immigration Rules
- Digital Technology applicants can benefit from a fast-track route where the applicant has been accepted onto one of the recognised UK accelerator programs, i.e. Barclays, Collider, Ignite, TechStars etc., to name a few.
Endorsement Review of Global Talent Visa Refusal
It can, unfortunately, happen that a Stage 1 endorsement application for Global Talent visa is refused. The refusal may be due to a variety of reasons, from missing evidence to insufficient qualifications/experience of the applicant. In case of the refusal, it is possible to request an endorsement review where a mistake has been made when assessing the endorsement application. The endorsement review is free of charge, however, comprehensive grounds are needed to address the reason why the applicant believes that the mistake was made during the assessment process.
The endorsement review request for Global Talent visa must be submitted online. The deadline is 28 days from the date of receipt of the refusal decision. The review normally takes around 28 days from the date of submission.
It is important to note, that only one review per decision can be submitted, so it is crucial that the request is prepared diligently with reference to the Rules and published guidance. Due to the fact that no new evidence can be submitted with the endorsement review request for Global Talent visa, it is always prudent to spend extra time to make sure the initial application is prepared thoroughly, rather than relying on challenging the decision further down the line.
Switching into Global Talent Visa inside the UK
It is possible to switch into a Global Talent visa following a successful endorsement application. It is important to note that not all applicants will be eligible to switch inside the UK, only those who hold permission in the categories below:
- Tier 1
- Tier 2
- Tier 5 (Temporary worker – Government Authorised Exchange) on an exchange scheme for sponsored researchers
- a Start-up visa
- an Innovator visa
Applicants who do not hold permission in one of the categories above will need to apply for a global talent visa from overseas.
Extension of Global Talent Visa
At the extension stage, the main requirement for extension Global Talent visa is that the original endorsement is not withdrawn by the endorsing body and the applicant must have earned money in their expert field during the last period of leave granted. An interesting point here, applicants who hold Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa can only extend under the Global Talent visa category.
ILR – Settlement on Global Talent Visa
Global Talent visa leads to settlement/Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after 3 or 5 years spent in the category. The length of the qualifying period will depend on whether the applicant was endorsed under “leader” or “emerging leader” criteria above and whether the endorsement was issued by one of the Science bodies. As mentioned previously, applicants endorsed by the Science bodies will be eligible for ILR after 3 years spent on a Global Talent visa route.
Important, the rules for dependants will differ, it is not always the case that the dependants will be eligible to apply for ILR after 3 years together with the main applicant.
In addition to the correct qualifying period above, the applicant will need to show that during the most recent period of leave, he/she earned money linked to the expert field of the applicant. That evidence may include documents showing salary, self-employment evidence, evidence of business earnings, or for researchers, a letter from the institution where the funding was secured etc..
The applicant will also need to meet KoLL requirements, i.e. pass an approved English language test level B1 and life in the UK test.
Absences for Global Talent Visa ILR Applications
The absences requirement for indefinite leave to remain applications under Global Talent Visa route is similar to other PBS applications (for example Tier 2 ILR), namely an applicant must not be absent from the UK for 6 months in any 12 months period. There are exceptions for applicants endorsed under fields of science and medicine, engineering and humanities, who can discount absences linked to research overseas. The same exceptions apply to their partners.
Edmans & Co – Immigration Lawyers for Global Talent Visa Application
Our multi-award-winning team of expert London immigration lawyers at Edmans & Co has in-depth knowledge of requirements and application process for a Global Talent visa, and Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa that came before it. Be it an initial application, a switching application or an ILR application, we can provide expert legal insight and assist with every step of the application process. We can also provide comprehensive assistance with drafting grounds for an endorsement review, should your original endorsement application be turned down. Our lawyers can provide the following assistance:
- Full assessment of the merits of your application, both for Stage 1 endorsement and Stage 2. We will identify any potential issues and work with you to strengthen the application where needed.
- We will explain to you the documentary evidence required for the application and review the information that will be provided during the course of our engagement. We can also assist by providing you with templates for the letters of support and recommendation.
- We will provide comprehensive support with filling the application form and review it with you fully, before it is submitted.
- Our lawyers will draft a covering letter with legal representations on your behalf outlining the basis for the application, main requirements of the Immigration Rules, and how those requirements are met by you.
- Following submission, we will liaise on your behalf with the Home Office or the endorsing body as needed, to make sure we follow up with any requested evidence and chase the decision where appropriate.
Feel free to contact us now to speak to one of our experts and obtain expert legal support with your application.
Our Global Talent Visa Services Review
If you need any legal assistance with your Global Talent application, please contact our London-based immigration lawyers on 020 7439 3000. Book a consultation with one of our immigration experts so that we can assess your case and advise you on how to make a successful Global Talent Visa Application.