“Spot the difference" – Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) and Global Talent

20 February 2020

Today, 20 February, new rules come into force with the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category changing its name to Global Talent.  See our new dedicated Global Talent page here and previous blog on this change here.

 As there are many similarities between the two categories, here are our top 5 differences between Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) and the new Global Talent category: 

1. No Cap

Unlike with Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) there is now no cap under Global Talent.  Given the cap on the number of endorsements each Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) endorsing body could make was not reached, this change should not make a material difference at this stage.


2. New endorsing body

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has now been added to the list of endorsing bodies.  UKRI considers applications from those in the scientific community who will be hosted or employed at a recognised UK research organisation. 


3. Relaxation on absences for research 

Global Talent applicants who have been endorsed by the endorsing bodies responsible for science, engineering, humanities and medicine who undertake research overseas directly related to their visa, may do so without that absence being ‘counted’ in an application for indefinite leave to remain. 


4.   Fast track to settlement 

Applicants endorsed for science, engineering, humanities and medicine can now apply for indefinite leave to remain after 3 years, regardless of whether their visa was granted for “exceptional promise” or “exceptional talent.”


5. Not part of the Points Based System (PBS)

Like the Start-up and Innovator categories introduced last year, now the Global Talent rules are in Appendix W and not formally part of Tier 1 of the PBS.


Further thoughts

Overall, for the time being the Global Talent category will largely mean business as usual for applicants, including for those applying for endorsement from Tech Nation.  Whilst at the present time the deletion of the cap will not have much impact, from 1 January next year that will all change.  In its 19 February 2020 policy paper the government confirmed that Global Talent will open up to EU citizens from the start of next year. 

As a result, the Home Office can expect a surge in applications and so a relaxation of the cap will be very much required.  As a second phase of the government’s plans for the immigration system, a new category of application for highly skilled workers will be created.  The government is considering last month’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) recommendation for a new capped highly skilled category based on age, qualifications, UK study and extra points for science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills as well as creative skills (see our blog here).

However, in the meantime, with the end of the transition period looming and as matters stand EU citizens with exceptional talent/promise needing permission to work and start a business in the UK, the rules need to ensure the UK is open for business.  There is an apparent gap in the rules for many self-employed EU citizens who won't meet the current or proposed new rules for highly skilled workers.

About the author

Katie Newbury is a senior associate in the immigration team at Kingsley Napley.  She has experience across a wide spectrum of UK immigration matters. Her particular expertise includes applications made under Tier 1 of the Points Based System, complex personal immigration matters, as well as the immigration implications of international surrogacy and adoption.

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