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Global Talent Film & TV Visa or Tier 5 Creative Visa?

Making an application in the Global Talent Film and TV category can be an intimidating process, because not only is it an involved administrative procedure, but this is a category which makes a value judgment about the Applicant’s career achievements. Unlike for those applying in other fields of expertise for Global Talent, those working in film and TV have a higher burden to meet, in demonstrating that they are already leaders in their field, rather than merely on their way to becoming leaders. 

Despite this high barrier to entry, there are a number of benefits for both individuals and potential employers in the UK to individuals making Global Talent applications rather than being sponsored.  In this post we compare the Global Talent Film and TV visa route with the Tier 5 Creative Worker Visa to see why the Global Talent Film & TV route may be a better option for many creative workers in the film and television industry.

Pros and Cons of the Global Talent Film and Television Visa

First and foremost, the Global Talent category is one which can lead to settlement in the UK, after a period of three years residence. This is one of the quickest routes to indefinite stay in the UK, and gives a distinct advantage over the Tier 5 Creative route which can only be granted for a limited period and can never lead to a grant of Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. This makes the process potentially cheaper and more flexible for employers because there is no need to continually renew visas if schedules change, as well as giving the migrant the option of staying in the UK on a long term basis. 

Another factor to consider is that a migrant in the Global Talent category has more freedom to undertake opportunities as they arise in the UK. While those in the Tier 5 Creative route are usually limited to working for their sponsor(s), Global Talent migrants are able to take on employment, self employment, have periods where they are not working while remaining in the UK. They can take on work or studies outside their field of expertise and can have multiple projects at once without this interfering with their visa. 

One downside of the route is that depending on your credentials, the initial application process can be a little involved. However, this application only has to be made once and the extension and settlement stages are simpler. 

The criteria to enter the Global Talent Film and TV category are also very strict, so it is not a route that will be appropriate for everyone. While other individuals working in similar fields, such as theatre, can apply on the basis of being at an early stage in their careers and having the potential to be a leader in the field, this lower threshold is not open to those working in film and television and in this field, applicants must already have been recognised as leaders in the field, specifically through awards and nominations.

Who Should Apply for a Global Talent Film & TV Visa?

The Film and Television sub-category of the Global Talent visa is open both to those who are already in the UK, perhaps working in a different category, as well as those who are based outside of the UK. There is no need to have a job offer or any particular project lined up in the UK before making the application. It can be done on a speculative basis, in case opportunities arise in the UK. 

The category is for individuals who have either been given awards or received a nomination for an award. Individuals can also apply if they have made a significant contribution to another person or entity receiving an award or nomination. This means that individuals do not necessarily require awards or nominations in their own name but their contribution to any awards or nominations relied on must be significant. Not everyone in a production will be able to rely on the same award – it will depend on what exactly their role has been in relationship to the person nominated or receiving an award.

Applying in this category is not limited to actors, those otherwise involved in the production are also able to apply, including producers, directors, show-runners, and post production. Those working in animation and visual effects can also apply. 

Those working in sound or music may wish to consider if their work is better suited to the Arts Council criteria. Similarly, those creating moving image artistic pieces for display in galleries rather than television or film festivals may also be best placed applying to the Arts Council. It will depend on the individual balance of work. Anyone who is not sure which is the best route for their circumstances should seek advice about this. 

What Is the Criteria for Endorsement by PACT as a Film and Television Worker

There are three ways to apply, depending on what awards the potential applicant has received or been received nominations for. 

The first option is actually to skip the whole endorsement process entirely if certain awards have been received. These are referred to as the ‘prestigious prizes’ and the Home Office keeps a list of these in the Immigration Rules. Where one of these awards has been received, the individual can apply directly to the Home Office for the visa and does not need to be endorsed by PACT first. This means that the process can be much quicker. 

If a prestigious prize has not been awarded, the next option is to rely on a ‘main award’. 

This means:

(i) an Academy Award; or

(ii) a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) (film, television, television craft, Cymru, Scotland, Games awards only); or

(iii) a Golden Globe; or

(iv) an Emmy Award; 

An applicant on this basis must either have 

  • won one of the Main Awards, or 
  • in the last 10 years they have been nominated for, or made a significant contribution to winning, or being nominated for any of the Main Awards; or
  • in the last 15 years, they have achieved a minimum of 2 nominations for the Main Awards; or

If the rules cannot be met on the basis of a Main Award then a person can apply on the basis of having Notable Industry Recognition Awards.

  • at any time, won a minimum of two awards for at least two different productions. 
  • at any time won one, and, within the last six years before the date of application, have been nominated for one other for at least two different productions
  • within the last six years before the date of application, have been nominated for a minimum of three for at least two different productions.  
  • within the last three years before the date of application, made a significant and direct contribution to winning or being nominated for three awards for at least two different productions. 

In all cases, where the production(s) are films, the films must have had a theatrical release.

How Long Will My Leave Be Granted as a Global Talent Visa Holder?

Global Talent TV & Film visa applicants can choose how long they would like to have a grant of leave for, up to five years and four months. The length of leave applied for will not affect the chances of the application being successful, but will affect the cost of the application fees. This is because the Immigration Health Surcharge fees are paid on the basis of the length of time applied for. 

If a person only needs to be in the UK for a limited period, they can choose to keep costs lower and apply for just a year. This can always be extended in the event that plans change. 

In order to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain when endorsed by PACT, you will need to spend at least three years in the UK with no more than 180 days absences from the UK in any 12 month period. A person intending to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain should therefore apply for at least three years of leave. 

However, if work or other commitments may mean that it is not possible to spend the minimum number of days in the UK each year, then it may be advisable to simply apply for the full five years and four months, so that extension applications do not need to be made frequently. There is currently no limit on the number of times the application can be extended or any limit on the amount of time that can be spent in the category. 

How Much Does an Application for a Global Talent Film and TV Visa Cost?

It costs £608 to apply for a Global Talent Film and Television visa.

If you’re applying based on an endorsement from PACT, you’ll pay the £623 in two parts:

  • £456 when you apply for the endorsement
  • £167 when you apply for the visa itself

If you’re applying based on an eligible award, you’ll pay the full £623 when you apply for the visa.

If you’re including your partner or children in your application, they’ll each need to pay £623.

In addition to these costs, you will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge of £624 per person per year of leave applied for. 

Visa priority services range between around £250 and £1000 depending on the place the application is made and what level of priority is required. 

In addition to these costs, a person might also want to consider other costs they might incur, for example if a translator is required. 

Contact our Immigration Barristers 

For expert advice and assistance with a Global Talent Film and Television application, contact our business immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.


To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.

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