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The Global Talent Visa is here: What are the key changes?

The Global Talent visa officially opened today and has been added to Appendix W (or Workers) of the Immigration Rules. Ironically, this latest visa category is not within the Point-Based System, and it is unclear how it will function when the new Points-Based System route opens in 2021.

Apart from a change of name, and a move to a non-points-based system, the route will function in a broadly similar way to its predecessor, the Tier 1 Exceptional Visa. The key changes to this route are:

  • Removal of the yearly cap for applicants: This will have little impact as the yearly cap on the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa was never reached.
  • Addition of UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) as an endorsing body: The addition of UKRI forms the basis of the ‘unlimited visa offer for scientists and researchers’ headline
  • The redesigned route now offers expedited settlement (3 years compared to the previous 5) for those granted endorsement under the Exceptional Promise route, except if the endorsement was under the Tech Nation route.

The Global Talent route will still require applicants to first seek endorsement from the endorsing bodies (previously called Designated Competent Bodies). These 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

If your field is either fashion, architecture or film, you should still apply to the Arts Council, but your application will be forwarded to:

  • British Fashion Council, for fashion
  • Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), for architecture
  • Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT), for film and television

If you have already received an endorsement under the old Tier 1 Exceptional Talent route, you can use this to apply for Stage 2 for a Global Talent visa.

Monica Atwal

Managing Partner

View profile

+44 118 960 4605

Global Talent route will still require applicants to first seek endorsement from the endorsing bodies


As with its predecessor, the application must first be made to an endorsing body, and if you receive an endorsement you can then make an application to the Home Office for your Global Talent visa.

You are able to choose the length of your visa, which will reduce the amount of Immigration Health Surcharge you would have to pay (depending on the number of years sought). In most cases (see below), you will need at least 3-years to qualify for settlement. You are able to extend your visa, once you are in the UK, should the need arise.

Processing time

The processing times remain the same as the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent route, and most applications will be processed within 8 weeks. If you apply under the Tech Nation route, you may qualify for a fast-track decision.


Another significant change in the Global Talent route is in respect of settlement (also known as Indefinite leave to remain). Successful applicants under both the Exceptional Talent and Exceptional Promise route can now apply for settlement in 3 years, except if they were endorsed under the Tech nation route (which still provides settlement in 5 years for an endorsement under Exceptional Promise, and 3 years under Exceptional Talent).

Applicants will also have to satisfy the Knowledge of Life and Language in the UK requirements, and their endorsement must not have been withdrawn by the endorsing body.

About this article

This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

Monica Atwal

Managing Partner

View profile

+44 118 960 4605

About this article

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