Global Talent Visa: Research and Innovation


Across the world, research and innovation is in high demand, and the UK is no different.

That’s why, to meet the growing need for top scientists and researchers, the British government launched the Global Talent Visa in early 2020.

Diversity has long been viewed as a strength in research and innovation. In fact, nearly one third of academic researchers in the UK are from overseas.

It’s no surprise then that the government is committed to recruiting more talent in the field.

When the Global Talent Visa was announced, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The UK has a proud history of scientific discovery, but to lead the field and face the challenges of the future we need to continue to invest in talent and cutting-edge research.

“That is why as we leave the EU I want to send a message that the UK is open to the most talented minds in the world and stands ready to support them to turn their ideas into reality.”

The Global Talent Visa also offers an accelerated settlement process for some applicants. This sends a clear message that the UK would like scientists and researchers to make the country their long-term home.

So, how can you apply for a Global Talent Visa?

There are two steps to the process, and it all starts with endorsement.

Applying for endorsement

Endorsement involves applying to a government-designated endorsing body that is relevant to your specific industry or line of work.

For this field, it’s an organisation called UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

There are four routes to endorsement:

  • A senior appointment at a UK higher education or research institution
  • An individual fellowship at an approved organisation
  • As an endorsed funder approved by UK Research and Innovation
  • Full peer review by the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering or the Royal Society

Then there are two ways to be endorsed:

  • As a leader (exceptional talent)
  • As an emerging leader (exceptional promise)

As endorsement is the first step to being granted a Global Talent Visa, let’s take a closer look at UKRI.

UK Research and Innovation

UKRI is an independent organisation. It works with the British government, universities, research organisations, charities and businesses to ensure both a national and international focus on research and innovation.

As an organisation, it brings together seven Research Councils from across the UK, as well as Innovate UK and Research England. Additionally, it invests tax-payer funds into projects that will impact citizens in the UK and overseas.

UKRI also aims to create an environment where “research and innovation can flourish”, which aligns with the purpose of the Global Talent Visa.

And right now, with the ongoing pandemic, COVID-19 related researchers can apply for the visa under relaxed conditions. This is set to last until January 2021.

However, for all applicants, UKRI can only endorse a Global Talent Visa application. The final decision rests with the Home Office.

Applying for the Global Talent Visa

After receiving endorsement from UKRI, the next step is to apply for approval from the Home Office. This is an online application and costs £456.

Most applicants get a decision within eight weeks. But the process may be quicker for the following people:

  • Digital technology specialists on a UK accelerator programme
  • Approved peer-reviewed fellowship
  • Senior academic or academic researcher
  • Hosted or employed in an approved UK research organisation

If the endorsement is approved, you can then move onto the visa application.

The fee for this is £152, or £97 if you’re from Turkey or Macedonia. Most people get a decision within three weeks.

Living and working in the UK

By now, you might be wondering what Global Talent Visa holders can and can’t do.

Here is a quick overview:

  • Live and work in the UK for up to five years
  • Apply for different jobs and change employment without telling the Home Office
  • Leave the UK for travel and holidays
  • Bring immediate family members with you to live in the UK

You can also apply for long-term settlement:

  • After three years with an exceptional talent visa
  • After three years with an endorsement by the UKRI endorsed funder scheme

As you can see, for talented people in the field of research and innovation, the Global Talent Visa offers more than a pathway to immigration. It’s also an opportunity to join an international community of scientists and researchers.

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Article Created By Hayley Maguire