Global Talent Visa: new visa scheme for international researchers

Image of world with location marker on top to show Global Talent Visa: new visa scheme for international researchers

As part of a package of announcements today, the Government has announced changes to Tier 1 Visas for researchers. A new, fast-track Global Talent Visa scheme to attract the world’s top scientists, researchers and mathematicians will open on 20 February.

This follows a commitment by the Prime Minister last summer to put science, research and innovation on the top of the Government’s agenda.

The bespoke Global Talent route will have no cap on the number of people able to come to the UK, demonstrating the Government’s commitment to supporting top talent. It will replace the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route. The route provides four ways in which a researcher may be able to obtain a visa.

The changes mean that, for the first time, UK Research and Innovation will endorse applicants from the scientific and research community. This new scheme allows researchers and specialists who are named, or whose role is named, on a grant from an endorsed funder to apply for a fast track Global Talent visa.

The changes also expand the number of individual fellowships that are covered by a scheme administered by The Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering and The British Academy. The announcement doubles the number of eligible fellowships under this scheme. EPSRC-STFC Stephen Hawking Fellowships and the NERC-UKRI Landscape Decision Fellowships will join other fellowships already eligible, including the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships.

A Tier 1 visa provides a number of benefits to recipients:

  • Continue to ensure dependents have full access to the labour market
  • Preserve the route’s flexibility by not requiring an individual to hold an offer of employment before arriving or tying them to one specific job
  • Provide an accelerated path to settlement for all scientists and researchers who are endorsed on the route
  • Provide for an exemption from the Government’s absences rules for researchers, and their dependents, where they are required overseas for work-related purposes, ensuring they are not penalised when they apply for settlement.

The Immigration Rules to bring the Global Talent Visa changes into effect will be made on the 30 January 2020 and come into effect on the 20 February.

The changes are part of the initial phase wider reforms to enable those with world class skills in science and research to come to the UK.