What is the Global Talent Visa and who can apply to immigrate to the UK?

The Global Talent Visa aims to attract the brightest academics, specialists in research, humanities, arts and culture, digital technology, science, medicine and, engineering to the UK, notes Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants.

It is also available to exceptionally talented persons in fashion, architecture, film and, television. The immigration route offers many advantages for successful applicants, Breytenbachs said.

  • Dependents of the Global Talent visa holder will have full access to the UK labour market. They have thus, no work restrictions imposed on them. You do not need to have an offer of employment before coming to the UK.
  • There is an accelerated path to settlement for visa holders who are endorsed.
  • There is an exemption from the standard absence rules from the UK for the visa holder and his/her dependents. The exemption means that they will not face penalties when they apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, and they were absent due to work-related travels.

How to qualify for the Global Talent Visa

To qualify for the Global Talent visa, you have to work in a qualifying field and be endorsed as one of the following;

  • Recognised leader (exceptional talent); or
  • Emerging leader (exceptional promise); or
  • Under the UK Research and Innovation endorsed funder option

The application process for the Global Talent Visa consists of two stages. The applicant has to apply for endorsement in his/her particular field and apply for the visa.

It is possible to apply for both stages at once, but if the visa application is refused, the applicant will lose the Home Office application fee. It is thus better to first ensure endorsement in your particular field.

How to get endorsement by an endorsing body

An organisation in your specific field (endorsing body) will review your application to get endorsed. Currently, 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.
  • The Arts Council England will pass on applicants in the field of fashion, architecture, film, and television to their relevant endorsing bodies.

It is possible to request an endorsement review if your endorsement was unsuccessful, said Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants.

Switching to the Global Talent Visa

The immigration experts said it is possible to switch to the Global Talent visa route if you are already in the UK with one of these types of visas; Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 5 (Temporary worker – Government Authorised Exchange), Start-up visa, or the Innovator visa.

“If you are in another visa category and would like to apply for the Global Talent visa, you will have to leave the UK and apply from abroad.”

Length of stay and right to work

It is possible to apply for leave to stay for between 1 and 5 years. It is also possible to extend the visa for as many times as you like, Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants said.

“There are no work restrictions on the main visa holder. You will be able to work for an employer, work as a director of a company, or be in self-employment. You are also allowed to do voluntary work. If you change jobs, you do not need to inform the Home Office.

“However, you are not allowed to work as a doctor or dentist in training. You are also not allowed to work as a professional sportsperson or coach.”

Spouses and dependents of the Global Talent visa holder

Breytenbachs said that you can apply for your spouse /civil partner /unmarried partner and children under 18 years to join you in the UK. If your child is over 18 and currently in the UK as a dependent, they can also qualify.

“The dependents will receive the same period of leave as the main applicant. The spouse or partner will be able to work without restriction in the UK.”

Immigration Health Surcharge

The Immigration Health Surcharge is payable with the visa application for the Global Talent visa. You only have to pay the immigration health surcharge for the length of time you choose to apply for. The period you apply for can be between 1 and 5 years.

Indefinite leave to remain

The Global Talent visa holder will be able to apply for settlement in the UK. The timeframes for eligibility to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain are as follows:

  • Three years with an Exceptional Talent visa.
  • Three years with an Exceptional Talent endorsement in Science.
  • Three years with an endorsement under the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) endorsed funder scheme.
  • Five years with an exceptional promise endorsement in Arts and Culture or Digital Technology.

After a year with the status of Indefinite Leave to Remain, you will be able to apply for British citizenship, Breytenbachs said.


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What is the Global Talent Visa and who can apply to immigrate to the UK?