The Global Talent visa route can play an important role in securing key talent from overseas. The visa was initially introduced in February 2020. It is designed to attract talented and promising skilled workers to the UK in the fields of academia or research, arts and culture, and digital technology. The visa has proven popular in particular with digital technology workers and businesses, with over 4,000 visa applications being granted, and a quarter of those being within this sector.
Tech Nation, who is the endorsing body for Global Talent applications for digital technology workers, proudly commented in its 2022 Visa report that:
"Getting the right mix of people, investment, infrastructure, and a healthy dose of good timing, will always be a challenge faced by firms looking to bring something innovative into the world. At Tech Nation, we are privileged to support scaling leaders to tackle these challenges, and proud to play our part in operating the Tech Nation Global Talent Visa, allowing the UK to welcome highly skilled global tech talent with open arms".
An individual needs to obtain an endorsement from Tech Nation before applying for the visa. Applicants are assessed against criteria depending on whether they have "exceptional promise" or "exceptional talent"; there is a clear distinction between the criteria for each.
An applicant with exceptional promise would be at an at an early stage in their career and can evidence that they have the potential to become a leader in their field.
An applicant with exceptional talent, would need to evidence that they are already a leading talent in the digital technology field.
The evidential requirements for the visa are complex and are based on the applicant meeting specific criteria. Applicants need to provide at least 10 pieces of evidence.
For exceptional promise, an applicant must meet at least two of the following:
For exceptional talent, the applicant must provide evidence of at least two of the following:
A common requirement across both sets of criteria is that the applicant must obtain three letters of recommendation from an "established expert" in the digital technology sector who has known the applicant's work for at least 12 months.
Once the applicant has compiled all of their documents, including completing the Tech Nation application form, they can submit their application for an endorsement from Tech Nation. At the time of writing, endorsements take between five and eight weeks to obtain. There is a fast-track route for those applicants who have been accepted on a recognised UK accelerator programme in which cases endorsements take approximately three weeks.
An applicant can either decide to apply for their visa at the same time as submitting their endorsement application or wait until after their endorsement has been granted before applying for their Global Talent visa. Visa applications take approximately 15 working days to be processed.
The Global Talent visa leads to settlement in the UK. Applicants endorsed by Tech Nation under the exceptional talent criteria can apply after three years; those endorsed for their exceptional promise can apply after five years.
Our immigration team have lots of experience supporting individuals with their applications for endorsements and visas under the Global Talent route, so we are able to navigate clients effectively through the complexities of this immigration category.