Responding to the Government's announcement about the Global Talent visa route, Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, said:
"This is a welcome and attractive visa route that will help encourage talented researchers and specialists from all over the world, and at all stages of their careers, to choose to work in the UK. It sends out a positive message that the UK is committed to remaining open to overseas science talent who would collaborate with our outstanding home-grown minds. What is good for science is good for everybody, and can help tackle important challenges such as climate change or disease.
"The Government has listened to the research community, and this is an important first step in creating the visa system that we need for attracting global scientific talent – one that is welcoming, faster and more flexible, and takes into account the long-term aspirations of scientists and their families."
The Global Talent visa explained
The Global Talent visa is a new immigration route that will succeed the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa for individuals coming to the UK to work in research and innovation. It follows announcements by the Prime Minister in August and December 2019 outlining plans for a more expansive visa offer for research and innovation talent and has been developed jointly by the Home Office with other Government departments and the scheme’s four endorsing bodies: the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
The Global Talent visa retains and expands existing elements of the Tier 1 route while introducing a new pathway for individuals working on a research grant awarded by an ‘endorsed funder’. In total, there are four paths to obtaining the visa depending on the profile of the person applying:
- Senior appointments – fast-track endorsement for individuals who have accepted a job of professor, associate professor, reader, senior group leader or equivalent at any UK higher education institution or eligible research institute provided certain recruitment requirements were met. This path is administered by the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering and Royal Society.
- Fellowships – fast-track endorsement for applicants who have been awarded an individual fellowship on the list approved by the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering and Royal Society. The fellowship must be held currently or within the last 12 months.
- Endorsed funders – fast-track endorsement for researchers and specialists whose name or job title is specified in a successful grant application from an endorsed funder approved by UKRI.
- Peer review – standard endorsement for individuals who submit a successful application for review by the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering or Royal Society (depending on their field of expertise).
The four endorsing bodies are responsible for endorsing applications on behalf of the Home Office. The British Academy reviews applications from the humanities and social sciences, Royal Academy of Engineering covers engineering, the Royal Society covers the natural and medical sciences, and UKRI reviews applications from all fields of science, engineering, medicine and the humanities under the endorsed funders path.
The Global Talent visa is expected to be incorporated into the UK Immigration Rules on 30 January 2020 and the scheme will go live on 20 February. Further information and guidance for applicants will follow.
Read more about the Royal Society's role in the Exceptional Talent visa route.
Read more about the Royal Society's work on Brexit and UK science.