To apply under the Global Talent route, applicants must receive an endorsement from the relevant endorsing body, in this case, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), on behalf of the Arts Council. Associate solicitor Nick Gore reviews the legal and evidential requirements for this application.
The Global Talent visa
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. The visa allows individuals to have flexibility in choosing employers, in establishing their own businesses and in some cases an accelerated route to Indefinite Leave to Remain.
To make a successful application, individuals must first receive an endorsement from the relevant endorsing body in their field, setting out that they are exceptionally talented (a recognised leader in their field) or exceptionally promising (an emerging leader in their field). Once the endorsement is issued, applicants can then go on to make an immigration application.
As part of the endorsement application Architects must meet the mandatory criteria and provide no more than ten documents of specified evidence.
Global Talent: Architecture endorsements – The mandatory criteria and evidence
The mandatory criteria are listed under Appendix Global Talent of the Immigration Rules (HC395, as amended) and reflected in the RIBA guidance, as well as Arts Council England’s guidance, which accepts the applications on RIBA’s behalf.
To meet the mandatory criteria applicants must demonstrate that they are:
- professionally engaged in producing outstanding presented, published or internationally exhibited work; and
- show regular professional engagement in their field in the last five years; and
- show a substantial track record in more than one country if evidencing exceptional talent or show a developing track record in one or more countries if evidencing exceptional promise.
Applicants must also provide evidence demonstrating two or more of the following:
1) winning or making a significant contribution to winning an international award for excellence. Exceptional promise applicants can demonstrate a ‘significant contribution’ to winning, or being nominated or shortlisted for, an international award. This must have been within the last five years from the date of application.
2) two or more examples of recent, UK or international, significant media recognition from at least two countries, (which can include the applicant’s country of residence). For the exceptional promise category, this does not have to be ‘significant’ media recognition, only needs to be in one country and can include their individual work or their work as a contributor.
3) two or more examples of work published or exhibited in at least two countries (which can include the applicant’s country of residence), in contexts which are recognised as internationally significant within the last five years. For the exceptional promise category, the media recognition must be from at least one country and must have occurred within three years from the date of the application.
In our experience, this is often the most straightforward criteria to meet. The media recognition can be online or in print, including articles and reviews from national publications or broadcasting companies as well as international architectural periodicals or journals.
In many cases, applicants are not named specifically in the article but their practices are. It is important to show the applicant’s direct involvement. The evidence may therefore need to be strengthened by providing letters of support from the applicant’s practice setting out the work they have personally performed, how it was integral to the project and how their contribution led to media recognition. This can also help demonstrate how they have been professionally engaged and how they have a substantial track record.
An international award for excellence
Demonstrating that an applicant has won, contributed to winning or been nominated for an award is often one of the more difficult requirements to be met. As well as actually winning/being nominated for the award, the award itself has to be ‘significant’ enough. Examples given include the RIBA International Prize, Pritzker Prize and Venice Biennale of Architecture Award. Exceptional promise applicants can rely on the AIA Young Architects Awards and the RIBA Silver or Bronze Medals (international student awards), which may provide students or those recently graduated with some opportunity of meeting this criteria.
In addition, the evidence provided must detail the award, including its category and year of nomination, detail the credit received and, if the award was part of a practice or group, further evidence is required from the organisation named on the award.
Work published or exhibited
This criteria is also relatively popular, although the question of what is ‘significant’ can cause confusion. The examples provided include monographs published by recognised international publishing houses, exhibitions at international exhibitions/festivals and international galleries with curated architecture exhibitions. Each example would have to be assessed on its merits as to whether it is ‘significant’.
The evidence provided for this criteria must demonstrate a minimum of two publications or exhibitions. Letters from the galleries/exhibitions may be of use as they can provide further information as to how the work is exceptional, and publications covering the exhibitions may be a useful way of ‘combining’ evidence in the 10 supporting document limit.
This article was originally posted on 29 January 2020 and has been updated to reflect changes in policy.
How we can help: Global Talent: Architects Visa
In addition to the above, applicants must also provide further documents such as referee letters. We can provide assistance to those who wish to make an endorsement application. We are experienced in preparing successful Global Talent applications for individuals spanning a range of industries and sectors.
If you need further information about this route, please contact us.