Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) applicants must normally meet several evidential requirements whether their application is in the field of tech, fashion, research and innovation, architecture or the arts. The accelerated process available for some applicants can make the application much easier and can also mean that a decision is made more quickly. Carter Thomas associate Nick Gore considers who can qualify under the accelerated process.
The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) endorsement application
The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa is for those who are highly skilled in specific fields. Applicants must receive an endorsement from the relevant Designated Competent Body (‘DCB’) in their field confirming that they meet the Exceptional Promise (for potential leaders in the relevant field) or Exceptional Talent (for leaders in the relevant field) criteria.
For those applying under the research and innovation criteria (where DCB’s include the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society) or the Tech criteria (where the DCB is Tech nation) applicants may be able to apply for an accelerated endorsement process.
If applicants meet the accelerated process requirements for the research and innovation scheme, the application for an endorsement is guaranteed to be approved. The processing time should only be 14 days. Applicants also do not have to meet all of the evidential requirements for this route, which can also save more time.
For tech applicants, the fast track visa allows an endorsement to be processed within 18 working days. Applicants must still meet the key and qualifying criteria for this route but the requirements to be met for the fast track process are, in general, easier when compared to the research and innovation accelerated route.
Research and innovation accelerated process
There are two ways by which an applicant can meet the accelerated route.
The first and easiest route is if the applicant has already been awarded a specific peer-reviewed UK based research fellowship. The award of these fellowships follows a stringent peer review process. The applicant need only provide written confirmation of the award from the funding body to qualify for the accelerated process. Applicants for exceptional talent or exceptional promise can use this process.
The second route is for senior academic or research positions at UK Higher Education Institutions (HEI) or research institutes. The Royal Society has confirmed that this does not include a senior lectureship position as the applicant would not be in a ‘sufficiently senior position’.
If an applicant has received a job offer for a senior academic or research position then they can meet the accelerated scheme requirements by providing a letter from the organisation. The letter must meet specific criteria including giving details on the recruitment procedure.
As the DCB will then determine if the applicant meets the accelerated criteria, this route is not as clear-cut as receiving a specific research-based fellowship.
Tech nation and the fast track process
Tech applicants can meet the fast track process in one of three ways.
The first is to provide evidence that they intend to settle and work outside of Greater London. This should be linked to the applicant’s plans for employment or entrepreneurship and evidence may include a business plan, employment contract, rental agreements and other documents.
The second way is to provide ‘experience of scale’. This is only possible for exceptional talent applications and applicants would need to demonstrate that they hold a senior management position and have experience in ‘expanding or growing a significant product-led digital technology business’. This is one of the more difficult requirements to be met and, if possible, should be linked to the evidence provided for the key or qualifying criteria.
The third way is to provide evidence that the applicant has been accepted onto one of a number of accelerator schemes. Applicants need to provide evidence of their plans in the UK outside of the accelerator schemes, again with documents such as a business plan being helpful in this regard.
Qualifying under the accelerated or fast track endorsement routes can mean a much easier application process and certainly a much faster processing time, cutting down on waiting periods and ensuring those with exceptional talent can transfer their talents to the UK as quickly as possible.
How we can help
We are experienced in preparing successful Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) endorsement and immigration applications for individuals spanning a range of industries and sectors, including fashion, digital technology and science. We currently maintain a 100% success record.
If you need further information about the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route, please contact us.