Tier 1 - Exceptional Talent
This route, which has existed since April of 2011, is for "those who are internationally recognised as world leaders or potential world-leading talent in the fields of science and the arts and who wish to work in the UK" to be granted entry clearance or leave to remain in the UK. To succeed applicants must be economically active in their chosen field, and this must be certified by a "Designated Competent Body". This will be the Royal Society, Arts Council, British Academy or Royal Academy of Engineering, depending on the discipline of the applicant. There is a limit of 1,000 applications a year from April 2012 to April 2014. The bulk of these limited visas will be issued to those active in science.
Applicants do not have to meet any maintenance requirement, nor when they are applying for entry clearance do they have to show any proficiency in the English language. Applicants for leave to remain must, however, show an ability in English to the standard prescribed in the Immigration Rules.
Entry is granted for an initial period of three years, and leave to remain for a period of two years.