Personal Immigration
Business Immigration

New Global Talent Visa announced

Faced with a potential post-Brexit brain drain, the Home Office has today announced the introduction of a new Global Talent visa

See Related Page: Global Talent Visa

See Related Post: Global Talent Visa: Frequently Asked Questions

Designed to attract the world’s top scientists, researchers and mathematicians, the Global Talent immigration route will open on 20 February 2020.

Global Talent Visa announced

According to a Home Office press release, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) (which funds government research) will endorse applicants from the scientific and research community and there will be no cap on the number of Global Talent visas that can be issued.

The Immigration Rules to bring the visa changes into effect will be introduced on 30 January 2020, so we need to wait a few more days before we know all the details.  However, it is anticipated that:

  • there will be no requirement for an individual to hold an offer of employment before arriving;
  • visa holders will not be tied to one specific job;
  • UK-based research projects that have received recognised prestigious grants and awards will be able to fast-track suitable members of the scientific and research community to the visa application stage;
  • there will be an accelerated path to settlement for all scientists and researchers who are endorsed on the route; and 
  • there will be an exemption from the ILR residence rules for researchers, and their dependants, where they are required overseas for work-related purposes.

The existing immigration route for scientists and researchers

Non-EEA nationals who are internationally recognised as world leaders in the scientific field (exceptional talent) or recognised as having the potential to become world leading scientists in the future (exceptional promise) are currently able to seek endorsement from the Royal Society, the British Academy and the Royal Academy of Engineering under the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route.

Whilst a maximum of 2,000 applicants per year can be endorsed under the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route, this limit has never been reached.

And, with no requirement to hold an offer of employment before arriving and the possibility of being granted indefinite leave to remain after 3 years (exceptional talent), it may be said that the new Global Talent visa offers little more to leading scientists and researchers than the existing Immigration Rules offer.

The end of the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent route?

The Home Office press release states that the new Global Talent visa will ‘replace’ the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa.  The Guardian has similarly suggested that “[t]he fast-track visa is a replacement of the old tier-one “exceptional talent” visa route that allowed applicants to be endorsed by the Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering, the British Academy, Tech Nation or Arts Council England.”

Some observers have interpreted such comments as an indication that, from 20 February 2020, digital and creative sector professionals will no longer be able to qualify for leave to enter or remain in the UK on the basis of their exceptional talent.

For our part, we think it more likely that the Global Talent immigration route will essentially be the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent category re-branded, with the fast-track route for top scientists announced today merely one route to endorsement on the basis of a broader concept of ‘Global Talent’.

As we reported in an earlier post, the Government has previously indicated that its post-Brexit points-based immigration system, set to be introduced from January 2021, will include an “Exceptional talent/contribution” category.  The Government has also stated that this category will include (not be limited to) the fast-track visa route for top scientists announced today.  At the same time, there has been no announcement from either Tech Nation or the Arts Council that they are about to lose their endorsing body status.

The Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules to be introduced on 30 January 2020 will hopefully clarify matters.

See Related Post: Global Talent Visa: Frequently Asked Questions

Contact our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice and assistance regarding an application for either a Global Talent visa or an Exceptional Talent visa, contact our immigration barristers in London 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.

    Attach a file if it supports your enquiry. Only .doc or .pdf files.


    Expert advice & representation from immigration barristers that you can rely on.

    Google+ - Five Stars

    Read the 600+ five out of five star Google reviews of our immigration barristers.