Milestone visa target reached

Obtaining a visa to study or work in the UK is a big news issue. Amid the focus on changes to work and study visas that were announced in December, the UKRI celebrated a milestone visa target reached.

The UKRI launched the Global Talent visa (GTV) in 2020 to provide a specialist route for international researchers to live and work in the UK. UKRI endorsement data indicates that 5,000 Global Talent visas have been issued to researchers.

Since 2020 candidates from 130 different countries successfully applied to build their research careers in the UK. What's more, these include leading researchers and academic staff.

Fast track to funding

The UKRI operates a fast-tracked endorsed funders route. This includes 100 separate funders that cover research councils, charities and foundations. In fact the UKRI approves 190 host organisations, and arrangements exist for research teams to seek endorsement from UKRI for a Global Talent visa.

The benefits of the Global Talent visa

The GTV supports highly skilled researchers to establish themselves in the UK and provides them with the flexibility to switch jobs and grow their careers. In particular the benefits include: -

  • no salary threshold and a fast-track path to indefinite leave to remain
  • dependents are free to come to live and work in the UK with the main visa holder
  • flexibility to change roles or employers, enter self-employment, earn money from other sources, such as consulting, or to establish a spin-out company
  • applicants can choose the length of their visa, initially up to five years, with the option to renew multiple times
  • allows travel anywhere in the world for research purposes, which does not count towards the maximum time period for absences from the UK during an application for settlement
  • fast-track endorsement routes usually see endorsing bodies return a decision to the Home Office within 14 working days.

Four routes to an endorsement

Individual researchers and teams contributing to research fit into four categories, such as: -

  • independent research organisations
  • higher education institutions
  • public sector research establishments
  • select non-public sector research organisations

How do I apply?

For the most part the scheme is designed to attract potential leaders in their field. According to the Home Office website, ‘you can apply for a Global Talent visa to work in the UK if you’re a leader or potential leader in one of the following fields:-

  • academia or research
  • arts and culture
  • digital technology

The scheme welcomes candidates with leadership potential. If candidates do not meet the criteria for the GTV they can apply though the Skilled Worker visa scheme.

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