More than 30 jobs that could allow South Africans to move to the UK with almost no restrictions

 ·6 Jan 2018
London Underground

If you’re exceptionally talented in the field of science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology or the arts, you could be eligible for a special UK visa – the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa.

This is according John Dunn, immigration expert at Sable International, who notes that the visa allows you to live, work and eventually settle in the UK with very few restrictions.

Dunn said it is now also much easier to get one of these visas after the UK Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, announced on 15 November that the quota for the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visas has doubled as a part of the UK welcoming talented individuals who will enhance the UK’s economy.

Tier 1 Visa

According to Dunn, if you are granted a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa, there’s little you can’t do in the UK. You are able to:

  • Work for an employer, as a director of a company, or be self-employed
  • Bring your family members with you
  • Travel freely in and out of the UK
  • Do voluntary work
  • Change jobs without telling the Home Office

The only real restriction on this visa is that you may not work as a doctor or dentist in training, or a professional sportsperson or sports coach.

The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa allows you to stay in the UK for five years, after which, if you qualify, you can apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR). Alternatively, once your five years are up, you can also choose to extend your Tier 1 visa.

“With an increase in the number of Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visas, your chances of getting one, should you qualify, have literally doubled,” he said.

“If your endorsement application is successful, you will receive a letter of endorsement, which you will need for your visa application. Only once you’ve received this letter may you apply for your visa. Your application must be lodged within three months of receiving your letter of endorsement.”

“The percentage of visas granted for those who receive an endorsement is in the high 90s, but be aware, receiving your endorsement does not mean you will automatically get your Tier 1 visa.

“Your endorsement and your visa application are two distinct processes and you will still have to fulfil several other visa-related criteria in order to be granted your exceptional talent visa,” he said.


This Tier 1 visa is for individuals who show exceptional talent or exceptional promise in a variety of fields. In order to be considered exceptional by the Home Office, you will need to be officially recognised as a current or emerging leader in your field.

You will first need to be endorsed in one of the following fields, by the relevant competent body.

The following organisations are charged with assessing your skill.

Field Organisation
Science  The Royal Society
Engineering   The Royal Academy of Engineering
Humanities and social science  The British Academy
Medicine  The Royal Society of Medicine
Digital technology  Tech City UK
The arts  Arts Council England

Sable International also provided an example list of jobs which were currently being targeted across the various fields.


  • Active researchers in a relevant scientific field and have a PhD or equivalent research experience


  • Mechanical engineering
  • Process engineering
  • Civil engineering
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Innovation and policy engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Information communication technology engineering

Humanities and social science 

  • Philosophy
  • Anthropology and geography
  • Economics
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Political studies
  • Law


  • Anatomy
  • Clinical medicine
  • Biochemistry
  • Anyone who demonstrates exceptional promise in their respective field, or those who have already exhibited exceptional talent through research or innovation in the medical field

Digital technology 

  • Programmers
  • Developers
  • Anyone involved in the business of digital technology

The arts 

  • Dance
  • Music
  • Theatre
  • Visual arts (including museums and galleries)
  • Literature
  • Combined arts
  • Any person whose work has been published, performed, presented, distributed or exhibited internationally and you are able to provide evidence thereof

You can read more about the requirements involved here.

Read: Landmark case makes it easier for some SA families to emigrate to the UK

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