Applications to enter the Global Talent route can be complex, with applicants having to meet tough criteria to show they are exceptionally talented or have exceptional promise. The good news is that for those who have met that high threshold, obtaining Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is often a less complicated process. Our associate solicitor Nick Gore considers the requirements.
The Global Talent route
The Global Talent route is for those who are highly skilled in the fields of humanities and science, digital technology, architecture, fashion and other arts. Having received an endorsement from an appropriate endorsing body, or alternatively an eligible prize, applicants can go on to make an immigration application and be granted leave to enter or remain in the UK.
Once in the UK, relatively few restrictions are applied to applicants compared to other routes. They can undertake any type of work they wish – on an employed or self-employed basis – and are not bound to a specific employer. However, they are not allowed to work as a Doctor or Dentist in Training or as a professional sportsperson.
The initial application can be granted for up to five years, and permission to stay under the route can also be extended beyond five years, if the individual does not qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (‘ILR’), also known as ‘settlement’ or ‘permanent residence’.
For those who do qualify for ILR, gaining this status means they will be free from immigration control and can go onto apply for naturalisation as a British citizen if so desired.
ILR – Residence in the UK
All routes which lead to ILR require the applicant to complete a period of continuous residence in the UK. The Global Talent route is advantageous as it provides for an accelerated route to ILR.
ILR can be applied for after three years by applicants who:
- were endorsed by The Royal Society, The British Academy, The Royal Academy of Engineering or UKRI; or
- were endorsed under the exceptional talent criteria by Arts Council England or Tech Nation; or
- were granted their initial permission based on an eligible prize.
Applicants who were endorsed under the exceptional promise criteria by Arts Council England or Tech Nation can apply for ILR after five years.
Any time the applicant has spent in one of the following routes before they were granted permission under the Global Talent route can be included towards the qualifying period:
- Innovator; or
- Skilled Worker; or
- T2 Minister of Religion; or
- International Sportsperson; or
- Tier 1 Migrant, other than Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur).
This makes switching into this route highly advantageous for those who qualify. Under Skilled Worker, for example, that same individual would have to wait for five years.
Unfortunately, this accelerated route does not apply to any dependants. They must complete five continuous years in order to qualify for ILR.
Applicants also have to meet an absence requirement. Calculating this can be complex due to a change in the rules in January 2018. In general, during any period of leave granted before 11 January 2018, the applicant must have no more than 180 days absences from the UK in each specified 12 month period. The 12 month periods are calculated backwards from the date of the ILR application. For leave granted after 11 January 2018, there must be no more than 180 days absence in any rolling 12 month period.
Where the applicant was endorsed by the Royal Society, The Royal Academy of Engineering, The British Academy or UKRI, any absence linked to their endorsement (such as a scientist undertaking research overseas) does not count as an absence, regardless of its length.
ILR – Evidence of earnings
In order to obtain ILR, applicants must not have had their endorsement or eligible prize withdrawn. Home Office guidance confirms that they must also show the Home Office evidence that ‘‘you have earned money in the UK linked to your expert field, during your most recent grant of Global Talent leave. There is no minimum level of earnings needed for this.’
Although applicants are not prevented from working in any field during the time they hold permission to stay under Global Talent, they must work in the specialist field for which they were endorsed if they wish to apply for ILR.
Although the Immigration Rules do not specify evidence to meet this requirement, the guidance does set out a list of documents that can be relied on. If the applicant is an employee or director of a limited company, in general, they can provide payslips, bank statements showing salary entering their account, official tax documents or dividend vouchers. If they are self-employed, a letter from their accountant or the company accounts may be provided as evidence. If the applicant is a sponsored researcher, some further evidence would have to be produced demonstrating the source of the funding. A letter from the institution would have to be provided which must meet the Home Office specified requirements.
In addition, further evidence that the work was carried out in their field of expertise should also be provided from all applicants, such as a contract of employment or a letter from an employer setting out the applicant’s duties and roles.
ILR – General requirements
Applicants must also pass a Life in the UK test as well as meet the English language requirement. It may also be helpful for applicants to provide evidence of their residence in the UK, such as bills, tenancy agreements, etc.
How we can help
We have a strong record of successfully assisting those who wish to make an ILR application or switch into this route in order to take advantage of the ILR requirements. We are experienced in preparing successful Global Talent endorsement and immigration applications for individuals spanning a range of industries and sectors, including fashion, digital technology and science.
If you need further information about this route, please contact us, or complete the enquiry form below.
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This article was originally posted on 25 October 2019 and has been updated to reflect changes in policy.