Global Talent Visa – Fresh Hope For STEM Post Brexit?

13 Aug 2019, 22 mins ago

On 8 August 2019, the Prime Minister announced a new Global Talent Visa to encourage the migration of individuals with top talent in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

In his announcement, Boris Johnson stated “Britain has a proud history of innovation … But to ensure we continue to lead the way in the advancement of knowledge, we have to not only support the talent we already have here, but also ensure our immigration system attracts the very best minds from around the world”.

The STEM industries have long been campaigning for immigration reform for top scientists in light of Brexit, citing their concerns for the large number of EU nationals working in STEM professions in the UK.  Key voices in the industry have been concerned about retaining the EU talent that is already in the UK, and continuing to attract top talent in the field. The Prime Minister’s announcement clearly recognises the need for reform in the UK immigration system to ensure that they continue to attract top talent.

The new route announced last week is a reform of the current Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa which allows leaders in certain fields to come to the UK with their dependent family members to work.  Under the current Tier 1 route, individuals who are granted the Exceptional Talent visa are eligible to apply for Settlement after 3 years in the UK, provided they satisfy certain requirements. This visa is especially advantageous as it does not tie the applicant to a specific job, unlike the Tier 2 visa.

The changes to this route announced by the Home Office include abolishing the cap on Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visas, expanding the pool of UK research institutions and universities able to endorse candidates and creating criteria that confer automatic endorsement. The exact criteria are expected to be unveiled later this year, when the Home Office officially put the changes to this route in place.

These changes clearly seem to be a step in the right direction to ensure the UK continues to attract top talent.  David Williams, Executive Chairman of Arquit, a leading quantum technology company endorsed the changes, saying “As a British business pioneering the science of Quantum Cyber Security, it is crucial that Britain welcomes scientific talent from around the World so we strongly support the Prime Minister’s initiative”.

Gherson has extensive experience advising and assisting with Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) and Tier 1 (Exceptional Promise) visas.  Should you require any assistance, please contact us.


The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2019


Aurora Gherson 

  Aurora Gherson

  Trainee solicitor in our Corporate Team