The Global Talent Visa Replaces the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa

The government announced its global talent visa in January and a few days later, in a Statement of Changes to the immigration Rules dated the 30 January 2020, set out the details of the new global talent visa. The global talent visa will replace the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa as the means of encouraging specific sector talented individuals to choose the UK to work and settle in. The global talent visa opens to applicants on the 20 February 2020. In this blog we answer your questions on the new global talent visa and what happens if you are in the UK on a Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa or have a pending Home Office application.

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Central London based OTS Solicitors help individuals and companies with all aspects of personal and business immigration law providing the best immigration outcomes. We are experts in helping individuals navigate the immigration Rules on Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa applications and are up to speed with the immigration Rules on the new global talent visa. If you have questions about the new global talent visa or your alternative UK visa options call us on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form.

Effect of the end of the exceptional talent visa on pending applications

The Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa will end to new applicants on the 20 February 2020. On the same date the global talent visa will open to new applicants.

The news about the new global talent visa will be of immediate concern to those individuals who:

• Have a pending Home Office application for a Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa or


• Have an endorsement letter from an Endorsing Body and were planning on submitting a Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa application to the Home Office within the next three months.

If you have made a Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa application and you are waiting for a decision on your application from the Home Office then even if your exceptional talent visa application is not decided by the 20 February 2020 the Home Office will still process your application and determine it in accordance with the pre 20 February 2020 immigration Rules on Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa applications.

If you are at the stage of applying for an endorsement letter from an Endorsing Body for a Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa and you are currently waiting to hear back from the Endorsing Body then the government has said that the Endorsing Body should deal with your application for endorsement in accordance with the current immigration Rules.

Once you get your endorsement letter from the Endorsing Body, the letter is valid for three months and you can either:

• Use it before the 20 February 2020 to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa or

 

• Use it on or after the 20 February 2020 to apply for a global talent visa. This application will be determined in accordance with the global talent visa immigration Rules.

If you are a Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa applicant who holds an endorsement letter but have not submitted your Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa application the choice is whether you should hold off and wait to apply for a global talent visa or quickly submit your application for a Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa before the cut-off date on the 20 February 2020. immigration solicitors can advise you on your best option in your individual circumstances.

Extending your Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa
If your Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa will shortly expire then it is understandable that you will be anxious to understand how the changes will affect you and potentially your settlement plans.

If you hold a Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa then you can apply to extend it provided that you meet the eligibility criteria and make your application prior to the 20 February 2020.

If you are not ready to apply for an extension of your Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa before the 20 February 2020, then shortly prior to the expiry of your Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa you can apply for leave to remain in the UK under the global talent visa route.

Indefinite Leave to Remain and Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa holders
If you are a Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa holder and you were planning to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain with a view to then applying for British citizenship then the cessation of the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa may cause you a concern that you will have to ‘start the clock again’ to meet the residence requirement for your Indefinite Leave to Remain application.

The good news is that you don’t need to worry about your ILR application because the government says that if you are in the UK on a Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa then you can still apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain once you meet the residence requirement and other ILR eligibility. You will not need to switch to a global talent visa before being able to apply for ILR.

Am I eligible to apply for a global talent visa?

The global talent visa is very similar in nature to the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa that it is replacing. It is designed for those who are:

• Talented individuals – leaders in their field of expertise or


• Promising individuals – with the potential to become a leader in their field of expertise.

Just like the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa the global talent visa is sector specific and you can therefore only apply for a global talent visa if your area of expertise falls within one of the following categories:

• Science and research and mathematics


• Digital technology


• Arts and culture – this sector includes film, television, design and architecture.

 

The global talent visa for scientists and researchers

The government has said that specific rules will be brought in to help global talent visa applicants who are applying for a visa in the science and research sector, such as fast tracking of applications.

Is there a limit to the annual number of global talent visas available for issue?

Unlike the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa, the global talent visa will not have a cap or limit on the number of visas that are available for issue by the Home Office.

Immigration solicitors say that the cap on Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visas was not reached and so applicants for Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa were not being turned away by the Home Office because of the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa cap. However, the removal of the cap may be of benefit as some potential visa applicants might have found it off putting and the change is therefore welcomed by immigration solicitors.

Will I need endorsement to apply for a global talent visa?

In much the same system as the current Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa, applicants for the new global talent visa will need endorsement from an Endorsing Body that is sector specific. This makes sense as the Endorsing Body is better qualified than a Home Office official to recognise an individual who is a leader in the field or who shows promise.

It is understood that the Endorsing Bodies will be:

• UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)


• The Royal Society


• The British Academy


• The Royal Academy of Engineering


• Tech Nation


• The Arts Council England.

Endorsement by an Endorsing Body is only part of the application process for a global talent visa. If you are endorsed by an Endorsing Body you still need to make an application to the Home Office for the global talent visa and a Home Office official has the final say on whether or not you are granted a global talent visa.

How many points will I need to obtain a global talent visa?

There has been a lot of talk in the press about the introduction of an Australian style points based immigration system and so it is natural for you to assume that the new global talent visa will require applicants to score a minimum number of points to be eligible for the visa. That isn’t correct. Despite all the press coverage about the introduction of a points-based immigration system in 2021, this global talent visa is not based on points. Instead it is based on endorsement and talent.

The rules on the global talent visa are to be found at appendix W to the immigration Rules.

How long will a global talent visa last for?

Under the immigration Rules, you will be able to say how long you want to stay in the UK for on a global talent visa but:

• The minimum global talent visa length is one year

 

• The maximum global talent visa length is five years.

If you apply for a global talent visa for one year then you don’t need to stay in the UK for the full year but you will need to pay the immigration health surcharge for a full year. That means if you plan on spending about two and a half years in the UK on a global talent visa you should ask for a visa for three years as you will have to pay the immigration health surcharge in whole years.

Should I apply for a global talent visa or Tier 2 (General) visa?

If you meet the eligibility criteria for a global talent visa then the likelihood is that it is in your best interests to apply for the global talent visa rather than a Tier 2 (General) visa. This is because:

• If you enter the UK on a Tier 2 (General) visa you will need to secure a job first with a UK employer who has a Home Office issued sponsor licence. If you want to change your job whilst in the UK on a Tier 2 (General) visa you will need to find a new employer who is willing to sponsor your employment so you can switch your Tier 2 work visa
• If you work in the UK on a global talent visa your employer will not need to pay the immigration skills charge. The immigration skills charge is payable if you are a sponsored employee on a Tier 2 work visa
• If you work in the UK on a global talent visa your employer will not need to pay a set income and will not need to comply with Sponsor Licence management requirements in relation to your employment (although they will need to conduct right to work checks)
• The global talent visa may offer a quicker route to UK settlement than a Tier 2 (General) visa, depending on your field of expertise.

Can I bring dependants to the UK on a global talent visa?

The immigration Rules say that global talent visa applicants can bring dependants to the UK with them provided that their dependants meet the relevant eligibility criteria.

Can I apply for ILR on a global talent visa?

You can apply to settle in the UK and get Indefinite Leave to Remain if you enter the UK on a global talent visa and meet the residence requirement and other eligibility criteria for an Indefinite Leave to Remain application.

The residence requirement length depends on your field of expertise, namely:

• If your Endorsing Body was in science, engineering, humanities or medicine then whether you were granted your global talent visa on the basis of your being a leader in your field of expertise or because you showed promise to become a leader in your field you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after three years


• If your Endorsing Body was not in science, engineering, humanities or medicine but you are a leader in your field and secured your global talent visa as a leader then you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after three years


• If your Endorsing Body was not in science, engineering, humanities or medicine and you obtained your global talent visa in the ‘promise’ category you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years.

The residence requirement and global talent visa to ILR

Any applicant for Indefinite Leave to Remain has to meet a residence requirement. The immigration Rules say that you cannot have spent not more than 180 days outside the UK during any twelve-month period of your visa that is relevant to your ILR application.

The government has recognised that the Indefinite Leave to Remain residence requirement can deter leaders in their field (or those showing promise) from either applying for ILR (as they know they won't meet the residence requirement) or from travelling overseas as part of industry related research, secondments or to attend international conferences etc. To overcome this, global talent visa holders endorsed by Endorsing Bodies for science, engineering, humanities and medicine who carry out overseas research that is relevant to their field of expertise and visa will not have to count that time overseas when meeting the residence requirement for their ILR application.

The global talent visa is designed to be more user friendly than its predecessor, the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa. Some are questioning whether the new global talent visa is simply a re-branding of the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa by the government. However, immigration solicitors say that there are some welcome changes with the global talent visa and it is particularly good news if your expertise is in the field of science and research.

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Legal 500 and Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession recommended OTS Solicitors are London based experts in business and personal immigration law. The specialist immigration solicitors can help with all types of individual and Business Immigration Visas including global talent visas, exceptional talent visas and Indefinite Leave to Remain applications after an exceptional talent visa. Call us on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form.

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