Welcoming the new Global Talent visa

Matt Jeffs-Watts, February 7, 2020 3 min read

On the 20th February 2020 the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa route is being expanded and renamed as the Global Talent visa

The expansion of the route is being introduced specifically to make provisions for the science and research sector, while continuing to be open to talented and promising applicants within the digital technology and arts and culture (which includes those within film and television, fashion design and architecture) sectors.

So what has changed?

As well as now being open to those within the science and research sector, other changes being implemented for the new route are as follows:

  • No cap: Unlike its predecessor, the Global Talent visa 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. Previously there was a 2000 annual limit on visas available.
  • Choose the length of visa, up to 5 years: The visa will be granted for 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 years for applications made inside or outside the UK. Applicants will be able to choose how much leave, in whole years, up to a maximum of 5 years they wish to be granted in a single application. This means that Global Talent applicants who only wish to come to the UK for 2 years in this category will not need to pay the maximum 5-year Immigration Health Surcharge payment. 
  • Removal of additional 4 month period: Previously applications made from outside the UK carried an additional 4 months leave, increasing the cost for applicants of certain charges such as the NHS surcharge. Previous changes to how the qualifying period for settlement is calculated made the additional 4-month period obsolete. 
  • The name: Although the word ‘exceptional’ has been dropped, the visa route continues to be for ‘highly-skilled’ entrepreneurs and employees. Just as previously, the Global Talent visa should not be considered for general employment.


Just as with the Exceptional Talent visa, applicants to the Global Talent visa must be endorsed by an organisation designated by the Home Office to develop sector-specific criteria and consider individual applications on its behalf. 

Tech Nation proudly remains the endorsing body responsible for processing endorsement applications for the digital technology sector.

For Science and Research, the endorsing body will be UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the other existing Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) endorsing bodies (the Royal Society, the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering, Tech Nation and Arts Council England) will remain the same under the new Global Talent category. 

Endorsements continue to be valid for 3 months from date of issue.

What about current applicants?

There is expected to be very little impact for existing Tech Nation applicants:

  • The online application process remains exactly the same, as do the fees involved.
  • If you have obtained a Tier 1 (Exceptional Endorsement), but not made an application for leave at the point the route changes, you can still use your Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) endorsement to apply for Global Talent leave (you won’t need to get a new endorsement). Endorsement Letters are valid for 3 months from the date of issue, so you must apply for leave before your endorsement expires.
  • If you are already a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) applicant and you want to extend your leave, you can under Global Talent (the requirements are essentially the same, just the name of your visa would change).
  • If you are already a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) applicant and you want to apply for settlement, you can apply for settlement as a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) migrant (you won’t need to switch into Global Talent first).

Under the new system flexibility regarding application evidence, switching visa categories, and the ability for dependents (partners and children under age 18) to join applicants – all remains the same. 

Find out more about the Global Talent visa >

Tech Nation is unable to advise regarding immigration or visa issues, however we have partnered with a number of legal partners that may be able to assist. Please take a look at our Tech Nation Visa page and contact us if you would like a referral to a particular law firm.


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