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'Competent body' for Tier 1 immigration

The government has implemented a range of reforms to the UK immigration system. One of these reforms includes the introduction of a new exceptional talent/exceptional promise route (Tier 1) which makes provision for up to 1000 of the brightest and best in the fields of science, humanities, engineering and the arts who wish to work in the UK.

Applicants wishing to enter the UK through Tier 1 must have the endorsement of a body designated by the UK government as capable of recognising exceptional talent and exceptional promise.  The Government currently recognises four such “competent bodies” whose endorsement will be accepted and the Royal Society has agreed to be one of them.  We will consider endorsing applicants who wish to enter the UK through Tier 1 that have shown exceptional talent or exceptional promise in their field within the Natural and Medical Sciences.

Other Competent bodies include:

All applicants must have a PhD or equivalent research experience. Full details of the route, as well as the criteria for each of the designated competent bodies can be found on the Home Office website.

All enquiries should be directed to the Home Office.

Accelerated Endorsement Process

We are pleased to announce that as of 1 April 2014, we are piloting a change to our endorsement process for researchers, in cooperation with Research Councils UK and the Wellcome Trust. For more information please download this PDF.

Monitoring of immigration issues

Please use this form (DOC) to record information on cases where current immigration policies have resulted in delays or aborted visits from scientists wishing to visit the UK.

We would like you to report any issues with Tiers 1,2 and 5, and Paragraph 46G iii(d).

Case studies

Recent successful applicants include:

Tier 1 (Exceptional promise)

Dr Ajay Awati

The Royal Society endorsed Dr Ajay Awati’s Tier 1 (Exceptional promise) application in 2012.

Dr Awati is an Indian citizen who has built an impressive career in the area of animal nutrition and health, specialising in the development of species-appropriate feed additives. Following his primary veterinary qualification, his international research career took him to New Zealand (Massey University) and the Netherlands (Wageningen University and Nutreco R&D).

In 2012, Dr Awati was offered a role at Danisco (UK) Limited with the pioneering Danisco Animal Nutrition team. He was awarded a Tier 1 (Exceptional promise) visa shortly after and has since taken up his post as Development Lead, responsible for an international team of scientists working on products that will improve feed utilisation and animal performance, while maintaining the health of animals and sustainability of farms.

Tier 1 (Exceptional talent)

Professor Tetsuo Tomiyama

The Royal Society endorsed Professor Tetsuo Tomiyama’s Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) application in 2012.

Professor Tomiyama is a Japanese citizen and one of the foremost engineering design academics of his generation.  He has studied and worked in two of the top institutions in his field: the University of Tokyo and Delft University of Technology. He is well known amongst his peers for his knowledge of, and contribution to, many areas of engineering design and his work is grounded in a deep understanding of the reality of multi-disciplinary design and the challenges that face industrial engineers and academics.

In 2012, Professor Tomiyama was appointed to Professor of Life Cycle Engineering at Cranfield University. The Royal Society endorsed his Tier 1 visa application which was successfully awarded. He moved to the UK to join Cranfield later that year. His research there focuses on a potentially transformative new tool that will allow people to assess the impact of a design on the environment and identify new engineering approaches in response.

Professor James Rothman

The Royal Society endorsed Professor James Rothman’s Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) application in 2013.

Professor Rothman is an American citizen and the Chairman of the Department of Cell Biology at Yale University. He researches the underlying mechanisms of vesicular transport within cells and the secretion of proteins. Since having his visa application endorsed by the Society, Professor Rothman has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2013 jointly with Professors Randy Schekman and Thomas Südhof "for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells".

In 2013, Professor Rothman applied for a Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa in order to facilitate a collaborative project with The Institute of Neurology at University College London which is a world-leader in his field. The visa will enable him to take up a part-time Professorship at UCL, which will enable this project to develop.