The global talent visa UK gives all beneficiaries who are leaders or potential leaders in their field of endeavor the opportunity to be self-sponsored and eligible to work in the United Kingdom. Although it is only applicable to people from a select professional segment worldwide.
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Most people make the mistake of thinking, the UK skilled worker visa, charity work visa or startup visa are the only categories available to people interested in being gainfully employed in this country. This is simply not correct.
In this article, we are going to highlight everything that has to do with the global talent visa, emphasizing its benefits, how to apply for it and be accepted as well as its criteria for eligibility. In the end, its importance as the best possible category of visa for people interested in working in the UK will be obvious.
What Is The Global Talent Visa UK?
The global talent visa UK also known as the exceptional talent visa UK, as mentioned above is a visa category that grants the right to work in the United Kingdom to leaders or potential leaders of certain fields who are immigrating to the country for this purpose (work).
This visa category is fancied by most professionals who have already immigrated to the UK or plan on relocating to the country, because unlike the UK skilled worker visa which entails you receive a certificate of sponsorship from an employer, which basically means you are bound to that company.
The global talent visa on the other hand, gives beneficiaries the freedom of not being sponsored to come into the UK for work; you literally can apply and get accepted by an employer after you enter the country. If you are not satisfied with the working conditions in a company, you can resign and apply to another company without informing the home office of your employment changes.
Global Talent Visa UK Eligibility
There are select fields authorized to apply for this visa category. Professionals who do not belong to these areas of specialization, but end up applying for the talent visa will definitely be rejected, no matter how qualified they are. So, it is advised that the potential beneficiary makes sure that his/her field is eligible to apply.
There are 3 fields of expertise that are eligible to apply for the global talent visa. These are;
- Academia or research
- Arts and culture
- Digital technology
Professionals with careers that fall under any of the above 3 sectors are encouraged to apply for this visa, particularly if they are interested in immigrating to the UK. However, they are required to be at least 18 years when they do apply.
How Does The Global Talent Visa UK Affect People From The EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein?
Individuals and/or their family members who started living in the United Kingdom by 31 December 2020, may be eligible to apply for the free EU settlement scheme. Although, for most people, the deadline for applications was 30 June 2021. It’s still possible to apply if;
- The applicant has a later deadline, particularly if he/she is joining a family member in the UK, if the relative in question was living there by 31 December 2020
- Potential beneficiaries have ‘reasonable grounds’ which prevented an application from being submitted by 30 June 2021. For instance, he/she was ill or was a victim of domestic abuse
Other than this, all individuals from outside the UK require a visa to work in this region. The only exception to this rule are Irish citizens, who do not need to apply for a visa neither do they need an EU settlement scheme to work in the United Kingdom.
How To Be Eligible To Apply For The Global Talent Visa UK?
Potential immigrants to the UK who are interested in applying for the global talent visa can only do so if they have successfully applied for an endorsement to prove that the applicant is a leader or potential leader in one of the 3 recognized fields.
However, applicants can boycott the need for an endorsement, if they can show that they have won an eligible award in their line of work in the past.
How To Be Eligible To Apply For The Global Talent Visa UK As A Member Of The Academia Or Researcher?
Members of the academia or researchers are eligible to work in the UK with a global talent visa, if they are leaders or potential leaders in one of the following fields:
Eligibility status can also be achieved if applicants for the UK talent visa have previously received a recognized award while working in one of the above branches of the academia or research.
Other Eligibility Criteria Academics Or Researchers Have To Meet To Be Granted A Global Talent Visa UK
There are other criteria that could also make members of the Academia or researchers eligible for a global talent visa UK. This includes any of the following:
- an eligible job offer as an academic or researcher
- an individual fellowship
- a research grant that is approved by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
- an eligible award
Applicants who fall short of any or all of the above criteria can still qualify to be granted a global talent visa by having their application peer reviewed. However, such applications do take longer before a decision can be given.
What Can Academics or Researchers Do With A Global Talent Visa?
People from the Academia or research-based professionals have a lot of flexibility when they relocate to the UK with the global talent visa. For starters, they can:
- choose the length of their visa, which can be up to 5 years
- be an employee, self-employed and a director of a company
- change or stop doing a job for a company and move to another, without telling the UK Home Office
- bring their partners and children with them as their dependents, if they’re eligible
- travel in and out of the UK at will
Global Talent Visa UK Eligibility For Professionals In The Field Of Art And Culture
Under the art and culture field, people with a global talent visa are eligible to work in the UK, if they are leaders or potential leaders in one of the following fields:
- combined arts, dance, literature, music, theatre or visual arts
- fashion design
- film and television, including animation, post production and visual effects
They can also work in the UK on a Global Talent visa if they have won an eligible award.
Global Talent Visa UK Eligibility For Professionals In The Field Of Digital Technology
Leaders or potential leaders in the field of digital technology can move to the UK with a global talent visa for work. Digital technology covers people who are experts in;
- financial technology (‘fintech’)
- cyber security
- artificial intelligence
They can also work in the UK on a Global Talent visa if they have won an eligible award. Applicants do not need a job offer to get the visa. Their background can be either:
- technical, for example people who are developers, engineers or data scientists
- business, for example they could have commercial, investment or digital product expertise in a technology company that creates software, hardware or that processes data
Are There Salary Cap Or Language Proficiency Requirement Under The Global Talent Visa UK?
There are no language or minimum salary eligibility requirements for people who enter the United Kingdom with the global talent visa. This means that while people who apply for the UK skilled worker visa are mandated to meet the salary cap for their occupational levels as well as take an IELTS test.
The UK global talent visa has no such requirement. Infact, getting a job before moving to the UK is a plus, but talent visa beneficiaries are not mandated to do this. They do not require a UK employer to sponsor their visa.
What Can A Beneficiary Of The Global Talent Visa UK Do If They Want To Stay Longer?
There are a number of things the exceptional talent visa UK recipient can do if they want to stay longer in the United Kingdom. They can:
- renew their visa as many times as they like if they meet the eligibility criteria for extending their stay
- apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘an indefinite leave to remain’) if they have lived in the UK for 3 years and meet the other eligibility requirements – any time they spend outside the UK doing research counts towards this time
However, they cannot:
- apply for most benefits (public funds), or a State Pension
- work as a sportsperson
All successful applicants will get a full list of what they can and cannot do with a Global Talent visa UK.
Global Talent Visa UK Application Fees
It cost £608 to apply for the global talent visa UK. This fee is mandatory, however if the applicant is applying based on an endorsement, the £608 can be paid in 2 parts:
- £456 when applying for the endorsement
- £152 when applying for the talent visa itself
The above payment is irrespective of whether the applicant is applying as a researcher, an art and culture expert or a digital technological professional. If an application is tendered based on an eligible award, then the £608 must be paid in full during submission of the visa application.
If the primary applicant is including his/her partner or children in an application, they’ll each need to make a payment of £608 per application.
All applicants for the UK global talent visa will have to pay a healthcare surcharge which is a part of their application. A nominal amount of £624 which has to be paid per year for each person applying. The healthcare surcharge is non-negotiable and must be paid by all intending travelers to the UK.
Documents Required To Apply For A Global Talent Visa UK
All applicants interested in applying for the exceptional talent visa UK will need to provide the following documents:
- a valid passport or other document that shows the applicant’s identity and nationality
- A tuberculosis test results if from a country where you have to take the test
If the individual had an award or scholarship to study in the UK in the last year, he/she will need written permission to apply from the agency or government that granted it.
If any or all documents are not in English or Welsh the applicant is, mandated to provide a certified translation.
All talent visa applicants are expected to provide a blank page in their passport for their visa particularly if they are:
- from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland
- from the EU, EEA or Switzerland but do not have a biometric passport with a chip in it
Those who have won an eligible award, will have this investigated by the Home Office, who will look at publicly available information (such as the award organization’s website) to confirm that the applicant has indeed been awarded such recognition. Applicants will only be asked for evidence of their win if no record can be found online.
How To Apply For The Global Talent Visa UK
The first step in the UK global talent visa application process is securing an endorsement. This has to be applied for before applicants can look to apply for the visa itself.
Applicants who have won an eligible award do not need to apply for an endorsement, instead they can apply for the exceptional talent visa straight away without going through this 2-step process.
Global Talent Visa UK Endorsement
Individuals interested in applying for the UK global talent visa need first apply for an endorsement to prove they are leaders or potential leaders in their field of expertise. The Home Office usually sends submitted applications to be reviewed by a UK organization (‘endorsing body’) with expertise in the applicant’s field.
How to apply depends on whether the applicant:
- has an eligible job offer as an academic or researcher
- has an individual fellowship
- has a research grant that is approved by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
- is getting his/her application peer reviewed
- Or is technical employed, a leader or emerging leader in the eligible fields for this visa category
A decision is usually reached about an endorsement within:
- 2 weeks, if the candidate has an eligible academic or research job, individual fellowship or research grant – this is called ‘fast track’ endorsement
- 5 weeks, if an application is being peer reviewed
Global Talent Visa UK Application Process
Individuals can only apply for the global talent visa UK online. However, how they do this depends on whether they are outside the UK and intending to come into the UK or inside the UK, but looking to extend their current visa or switch from a different visa.
Applying From Outside The UK
The primary applicant’s partner and children will need to apply separately, and use the primary applicant’s application number, to travel together or join the primary in the UK if they are eligible.
Applicants may also be able to apply at a visa application centre. It is possible to apply from any country as long as the individual has been given permission to live there for at least 6 months.
As part of the application, all applicants applying from outside the UK will need to prove their identity. How this is done depends on where the applicant is from and what type of passport he/she has.
This could be done either by:
- Having fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre – this is to get a biometric residence permit
- Or by using the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan applicant’s identity document (applicants will be mandated to also create or sign into their UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account)
The process is fully interactive and applicants will be told what they need to do when they apply.
If an appointment is needed then:
- the centre may need to keep the applicant’s passport and documents while they process his/her application
- they may also have to travel to get to the nearest visa application centre (this could be in another country)
How Long Does It Take To Get A Decision On A Global Talent Visa UK application?
All applicants usually get a decision about their visa within:
- 3 weeks if you’re outside the UK
- 8 weeks if you’re inside the UK
It is possible to get a faster decision on a visa application. However, how an applicant does this depends on whether they are outside the UK or inside the UK. Applicants will be contacted if their application will take longer, for instance:
- if they are applying with a family member who needs an appointment but they do not
- if the applicant’s supporting documents need to be verified
- if the applicant needs to attend an interview
- A personal circumstance could be in the way of a decision such as a criminal conviction
Whatever happens, it is important to stress that all applicants will get an email or a letter containing the decision on their applications. This will explain what needs to be done next.
What Can be Done If A Global Talent Visa UK Application Needs To Be Altered Or Cancelled?
A mistake could be made and discovered after an application has been submitted, If the applicant needs to change something in an application after he/she has sent it, all the individual need do is contact UK visas and immigration (UKVI).
It’s also possible that due to a change in circumstance, an applicant might decide against pursuing a talent visa to the UK. He/she can ask to cancel an application. However, they will only get the fee refunded if UKVI has not started processing the visa application.
Global Talent Visa UK Success Rate
According to a survey carried out by the UK home office, most global talent visa holders surveyed received endorsement and visa application decisions within expected timescales (this was 80% and 74% respectively).
There were although suggestions that the process could be quicker with clearer information on how long the endorsement and visa application processes would take.
Extending A Global Talent Visa UK
All applications to extend a global talent visa must be done online. There are only 2 criteria under which an application to extend the visa can be accepted while the applicant is already in the UK. This is either when:
- The applicant applied for the Global Talent visa based on an endorsement, and the organization that endorsed the application has not withdrawn its approval
- The candidate applied for a Global Talent visa based on an eligible award that was won, and the award has not been withdrawn
There are other eligibility criteria that must be met, such as the applicant must be able to show that he/she earned money in the individual’s expert field during the subject’s time in the UK by sending evidence towards the application, for example pay slips.
The primary applicant’s partner or children will need to apply separately to extend their visa. They can either apply at the same time as their principal, or at any time before their current visa expires.
It is recommended that the primary applicant applies for an extension of visa before the current visa expires.
Applicants who currently have a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa can extend under the Global Talent category.
Giving Supporting Documents And Proving Identity
It is important to note that as part of the application the applicant will need to prove his/her identity. How this is done depends on the applicant’s country of origin and the type of passport possessed.
The method falls under 2 broad categories:
- The applicant will have to give fingerprints and a photograph (biometric information) at a UK visa and citizenship application services (UKVCAS) service point – this is to get a biometric residence permit
- use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan the identity document (the applicant will also create or sign in to his/her UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account)
All candidates applying for a global talent visa extension must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until a decision on their application is reached. If this rule is violated, then the application will be withdrawn.
Applying For A Global Talent Visa UK Extension from Outside The United Kingdom
Just like in the case of other global talent visa applications, extending ones stay in the UK under this visa category must be done online. This can be done irrespective of whether the applicant is currently outside the UK.
Applicants are also able to apply at a visa application centre. They can apply from any country as long as you’ve been given permission to live there for at least 6 months.
How Long Does A Global Talent Visa UK Extension Decision Take?
All applicants usually get their decision within 8 weeks of their application date. Although, it is also possible to pay for a faster decision. This information will be communicated to the applicant at the visa application centre
Applicants Who Want To Extend Their Global Talent Visa UK To Stay Longer
In trying to extend a global talent visa, it is possible to get an indefinite leave to remain so the applicant can settle in the UK after 3 or 5 years, depending on which field he/she works in and how the individual applied. This gives the applicant the right to live, work and study in the UK for as long as the person likes, and apply for benefits if the individual is eligible.
How Much Does A Global Talent Visa UK Extension Cost?
Extending a global talent visa UK costs £623. This is irrespective of whether an application for extension is being submitted inside or outside the UK.
The primary applicant’s partner and children are also each mandated to pay the visa fee of £623 if they want to apply to travel with the principal applicant or join him/her later in the UK.
All applicants will need to have their biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken. This is done free of charge, as no fee is required for this service.
Individual healthcare surcharge of £624 will have to be paid for each application for global talent visa extension. This is non-negotiable and failure to pay will void the affected application. Which in itself could lead to a rejection of the visa extension application.
How To Switch From Other Visa Categories To The Global Talent Visa UK?
Some immigrants working in the UK might want to switch to a global talent visa from other category of visas they are already on. This is possible.
However, partners or children will need to apply separately to switch their visa. They can either apply at the same time as the primary applicant, or at any time before their current visa expires.
Who Is Eligible To Switch?
It is paramount that people who want to switch to a global talent visa must be in the UK and have either:
- won an eligible award
- proven that they are leaders or potential leaders in one of the fields covered by the visa – this is also called getting an endorsement
There are only 3 fields in which applicants who are interested in making a switch to the global talent visa can prove they are leaders or potential leaders in and these are:
- academia or research
- arts and culture
- digital technology
Candidates must apply to switch to the Global Talent visa within 3 months of getting an endorsement. It is impossible to apply for the visa if the organization that endorsed the applicant has withdrawn its approval.
People Who Are Not Allowed To Switch To A Global Talent Visa UK
There is a section of applicants who are not allowed to make a switch from other visa categories to the global talent visa. This segment of applicants will be declined if they were to ever put in an application. They are individuals;
- on a visitor visa
- on a short-term student visa
- on a Parent of a Child Student visa
- on a seasonal worker visa
- on a domestic worker in a private household visa
- on immigration bail
- who were given permission to stay outside the immigration rules, for example on compassionate grounds
Applicants must leave the UK and apply for a global talent visa from abroad if they are in one of these categories.
How Much Does It Cost To Switch To A Global Talent Visa UK?
Making a switch to a global talent visa costs £623. If the applicant is applying based on an endorsement, he/she can pay the £623 in two parts:
- £456 when the individual applies for the endorsement
- £167 when the applicant applies for the visa itself
If applying based on an eligible award, the individual will pay the full £623 when applying for the visa.
The primary applicant’s partner and children must pay £623 each if they want to apply to travel with their principal or join him/her later in the UK.
It is mandatory that they all have their biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken. This incurs no charge.
Individual healthcare surcharge of £624 will have to be paid for each application for global talent visa switch. This is non-negotiable and failure to pay will void the affected application. Which in itself could lead to a rejection of the visa change application.
How To Apply To Switch To The Global Talent Visa UK?
To switch from other visas to the global talent visa, applicants will have to prove their identity. This is a very important step. How each applicant does this depends on where they are from and the type of passport they have.
However, individuals who seek to switch to this visa can either:
- give their fingerprints and a photograph (biometric information) at a UK visa and citizenship application services (UKVCAS) service point – this is to get a biometric residence permit
- or use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan their identity document (they will also need to create or sign in to their UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account)
To complete the application process, they will need to sign in to their account using the link from their sign-up email.
All candidates applying to switch to the global talent visa must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until a decision on their application is reached. If this rule is violated, then the application will be withdrawn.
How Long Does A Global Talent Visa UK Switch Decision Take?
All applicants usually get their decision within 8 weeks of their application date. Although, it is also possible to pay for a faster decision. This information will be communicated to the applicant at the visa application centre
The global talent visa UK is by far the easiest way for an individual to be self-sponsored while traveling for work to the United Kingdom. It basically caters to professionals across 3 specific fields; the academia and research, art and culture, then the digital technology sectors.
Even though these 3 fields are further niched down to other sub-sectors, those eligible to apply for this visa category are quite streamlined. To be eligible for this visa category, the individual must have gotten a job offer, or won an eligible award. For Academics or researchers, they are required to be on an individual fellowship or be recipients of a research grant that is approved by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
Not all of the foregoing criteria need to be met, at least one could be, but if none are met, then the individual’s global talent visa application will be peer reviewed by an organization competent in the chosen field of the applicant, but selected by the UK home office.
To apply for the talent visa, applicants must first get endorsed. During the visa application stage, there are supporting documents that are required to get a favorable decision. There are also mandatory fees that need to be paid.
The global talent visa UK gives successful applicants an opportunity to stay in the UK for up to 5 years, which can be extended without limit. Those that stay in the country for just 3 years can apply for an indefinite leave to remain, this is of course after meeting all the eligibility criteria.
It is also possible to switch from a different visa to a global talent visa. To do this though, there are series of steps that need to be taken and fees paid as well. There are however visa categories that cannot be switched to the talent visa.
What do you think? Is the global talent visa UK the easiest way to self-sponsor your work visa to the UK?