Initial leave under the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route can be granted for up to five years and four months, if applying from outside the UK. Applicants may later wish to extend their stay in the UK. Associate solicitor Nick Gore advises many clients about this route and outlines the main requirements.
The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route
The Tier 1 (Exceptional 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 a Designated Competent Body (DCB), applicants can go on to make an immigration application and be granted leave to enter or remain in the UK.
Unusually, in the immigration application, applicants can choose how many years’ leave they wish to apply for, up to five years and four months if applying from outside the UK.
Relatively few immigration restrictions apply to applicants, they can undertake work 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 (you can read more about the definition of a professional sportsperson for immigration purposes here and here).
The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route leads to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), also referred to as ‘settlement’ or ‘permanent residence’, after five continuous years residence in the UK, or after three years if the applicant meets the accelerated criteria. Further information about the requirements to be met in an ILR application is available here.
If applicants wish to extend their leave in the UK in order to meet the ILR residence requirements, or they do not meet all of the requirements for an ILR application, such as the absence requirement, they may instead wish to apply for further leave to remain, also known as an extension of stay. The requirements to be met for this application are relatively straightforward and are less onerous than the ILR route.
Further leave to remain – evidence of earnings
Applicants must demonstrate that, during their most recent period of leave, they earned money in the UK as a result of employment or self-employment in their field of expertise. There is no specific earnings amount to meet and although applicants are not prevented from working in any field during the time they hold limited leave to remain under Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent), it is advisable that they work in the specialist field for which they were endorsed if they wish to apply for further leave to remain.
The official policy guidance available here sets out the types of documents to use as evidence. In general, applicants should provide payslips, bank statements showing salary entering their account, official tax documents or dividend vouchers if they are an employee or director of a limited company. 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 role.
Further leave to remain – DCB endorsement not withdrawn
In order to obtain further leave to remain, applicants must not have had their DCB endorsement withdrawn. Applicants are notified if their endorsement is withdrawn and in practice the circumstances in which an endorsement is withdrawn are limited.
How we can help
We have a strong record of successfully assisting those who wish to make a leave to remain application or switch into this route. 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.
If you need further information about the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route, please contact us.