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The Official Launch – Fast Track Global Talent Visa

The government has highlighted through its vision of an Australian-style points-based immigration system, that it will focus on attracting the best talent to the UK. It has already confirmed that it will invest up to £300 million over the next 5 years to fund experimental and imaginative mathematical sciences research through the best global talent.

On 20 February 2020 the government will launch its highly anticipated Global Talent Visa; conveniently shortly following the Brexit date. This ‘golden’ visa is aimed at attracting scientists, researchers and mathematicians to the UK which will enhance the UK’s research and innovation sector.  The route is flexible and provides great opportunity for international collaboration.

Following on from our previous blog, we now have clarification that the new visa will be replacing the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa. The Global Talent Visa will be managed by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Research projects which are UK based and have been awarded recognised prestigious grants and awards will be included as part of the Scheme. This includes the European Space Agency and the Japan Science and Technology Agency who will now be able to recruit the best global talent. This is good news for higher education institutions, research institutions and certain public sector research establishments who will be able to reap the benefits.

Summary of key changes/features

  • The visa will not be capped and therefore there will be no restrictions on the number of people that can apply or enter the UK.
  • There will be an accelerated route to settlement (3 years) for applicants who are endorsed under this route. If researchers are required to work overseas for the purposes of their work, they will be able to rely on an exemption to the absences rule for researchers as well as their dependants. This will ensure they are not penalised when applying for settlement.
  • Applicants are not required to hold a confirmed offer of employment prior to coming to the UK. There is also no minimum salary threshold.
  • Applicants are not restricted to one job and therefore can collaborate with businesses.
  • The number of eligible fellowships will double and applicants who hold such fellowships will be able to fast track their applications. This will include fellowships such as Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, the European Research Council and Human Frontier Science.
  • Dependants will have access to the UK labour market.


There are four main routes in which an applicant can secure the Global Talent Visa under:

Please note that the first three routes are fast track routes.

  1. Senior Appointments – For those who have accepted a job of a professor, associate professor, reader, senior group leader or equivalent at any UK higher education institution or eligible research institute provided certain recruitment requirements are met. This route is governed by the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society.
  2. Endorsed Funders – For researchers and specialists whose name of job title is specified in a successful grant application from a recognised funder. This route is governed by UKRI.
  3. Fellowships – For those who have been awarded an individual fellowship on the approved list by the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering or the Royal Society. The fellowship must be held currently or within the last 12 months.
  4. Peer review – This is the standard endorsement for individuals who submit a successful application for review by the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering or the Royal Society (depending on the field of expertise).

A further endorsed funder route is also available. This is for researchers who make critical contributions to work supported by grant funding from a recognised funder. The official list of recognised funders is available on the UKRI website. We will be publishing further information on this new route in due course.

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