The UK Government has announced its plans for a new “Global Talent Visa” for researchers to come to the UK to work. This visa will open on the 20 February 2020 and will be administered by UKRI. The route will replace the “Exceptional Talent” Tier 1 visas.
In addition to having no limits on the number of visas, key features of the Global Talent Visa include no salary threshold for eligibility, researchers can be accompanied by their families (assuming relevant requirements are met), and research conducted outside of the UK will count towards settlement, which can be applied for after three years.
This new visa aims to be fast and flexible, where eligible researchers can apply to switch to a Global Talent Visa from within the UK.
There will be four routes to apply for a Global Talent Visa, reflecting different roles within research. This is a broadening of the criteria for who is eligible for these visas compared to the current Exceptional Talent visas:
- Senior Appointments: professor, associate professor, reader, senior group leader or equivalent at any UK higher education institution (HEI) or eligible research institute.
- Fellowships: fast-track endorsement for applicants awarded a fellowship on the list approved by the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering and Royal Society.
- Endorsed Funders: those whose name or job title is listed in a grant awarded by a recognised funder, which has been subject to peer review. Applicants must be employed by, hosted by, or have an offer of employment or hosting from a UK HEI or other recognised research institute. There are currently 21 funders from across the globe listed as endorsed funders, with the implication that this list will remain under review and potentially be updated in future.
- Peer Review: individuals who submit an application for review by The British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering or The Royal Society.
Senior Appointments, Fellowships and Endorsed Funder routes will all be fast-tracked for endorsement. Following endorsement, applicants should have a decision on their visa within three weeks. There are more details of the eligibility criteria for the four visa routes and a list of the current Endorsed Funders on the UKRI website. Further details of the ‘endorsed funder’ route are anticipated when it launches in February.
Commenting on the Global Talent Visa, Professor Sir Pete Downes, President of the Biochemical Society said:
The announcement of the Global Talent Visa has been broadly welcomed by the scientific community.
Dr Sarah Main, Director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering said:
Dr Main’s comment reflects some criticism that the previous quota for Exceptional Talent Tier 1 Visas of 2,000 per annum was not met. However, current plans for the new visa look to be open to a broader range of researchers than previous fast-tracked options, something the science and engineering community has been calling for.
Also included in the Government’s science announcement on the 27 January was additional investment to be put into mathematical sciences, and the development of a Place Strategy for UK R&D which will be published later this year.