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Global Talent Visa

27 January 2020

The Global Talent Visa will introduce new routes for researchers to work and live in the UK. Individuals wishing to apply for the new visa will be able to do so on the UK Government website from 20 February 2020.

You should not attempt to apply for the new Global Talent Visa before 20 February or your application may be rejected. In the meantime, the Research and Innovation Talent Visa continues to be available – to see if you are eligible for that visa please follow the links to the national academies’ and UK Government’s websites below.

The UK welcomes international researchers, who bring new ideas and perspectives, enriching the UK’s research and innovation workforce. They also promote international collaboration, attract investment and become informal ambassadors, strengthening trade, research and diplomatic links and enabling UK research and development, and society more broadly, to benefit from their contribution.

A Tier 1 Global Talent Visa offers a flexible immigration route to the UK. This visa means a researcher:

  • Can move freely between organisations, locations, jobs and roles.
  • Does not have to receive a minimum salary to be eligible.
  • Can take on activities that are more difficult to undertake on other visas, such as collaborating with businesses.
  • Can apply for settlement once they have been in the UK for three years. Researchers who spend time outside of the UK for research purposes will not be penalised for this.
  • Can apply without having to pass an official English Test Qualification, although having sufficient knowledge of the English language may be a requirement of the organisation that hosts or employs them.
  • Can be accompanied by their families (dependents), if they meet the relevant requirements.

The Global Talent Visa has four routes to securing a visa for different roles:

  • Senior appointments – fast-track endorsement for individuals who have accepted a job of professor, associate professor, reader, senior group leader or equivalent at any UK higher education institution or eligible research institute provided certain recruitment requirements were met. This path is administered by The British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering, and The Royal Society.
  • Fellowships – fast-track endorsement for applicants who have been awarded an individual fellowship on the list approved by The British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and Royal Society. The fellowship must be held currently or within the last 12 months.
  • Endorsed funders – fast-track endorsement for researchers and specialists whose name or job title is specified in a successful grant application from a recognised funder. This path is administered by UK Research and Innovation.
  • Peer review – 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 their field of expertise).

Endorsed funder route

The Global Talent Visa includes a new visa route for researchers who make critical contributions to work supported by grant funding from a recognised funder. 

The first phase recognised funders are:

* Although Innovate UK is a recognised funder, the employer or host organisation must be a UK Higher Education Institution (such as a university), Public Sector Research Establishment or on UKRI’s list of Independent Research Organisations. Most businesses do not meet this requirement.

This list will be kept under review. Types of eligible awards include programme and project grants, fellowships, strategic investments and large institutional investments.

To qualify for a visa under this route, an applicant must:

  • Be named on grant funding from one of the funders on the list above OR
  • Be appointed to a role named on a grant from one of the funders on the list above
  • Be employed or hosted by, or in receipt of an offer of employment or hosting from, a UK Higher Education Institution (such as a university), Independent Research Organisation recognised by UKRI or a Public Sector Research Establishment.
  • The grant must have been won subject to peer review.
  • The grant award will need to be of a value of at least £30,000 and at least 2 years in duration.
  • Have at least 2 years remaining on their employment contract or hosting agreement at the point of application for visa endorsement.
  • Spent at least 50% of their working time contributing to the grant.
  • The applicant will need to meet the costs associated with the visa, as detailed on the UK Government’s website.

After an applicant gets their endorsement, the earliest they can apply for a visa is three months before they travel. They should get a decision on their visa within three weeks when they apply from outside the UK.

Researchers may also be able to switch to this visa type from within the UK, if they meet the eligibility criteria and will be working on a grant from an endorsed funder.

More information will be available on the UK Government website when the scheme launches on 20 February.

Further information

Details of the schemes administered by national academies are on their websites: The Royal Society; the Royal Academy of Engineering and The British Academy.

Further information on applying for a visa to come to the UK is on the UK Government website.

Questions about the endorsed funder route can be sent to globaltalentvisa@ukri.org