News story

UK opens its doors to exceptionally talented migrants

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The government has today announced the way it will encourage exceptionally talented leaders in the fields of science, humanities, engineering and the arts to come to the UK.

The new ‘exceptional talent’ route will open on 9 August 2011. This new route, for up to 1000 exceptionally talented migrants, will facilitate not only those who have already been recognised but also those with the potential to be recognised as leaders in their respective fields.

It will be overseen by world renowned ‘competent bodies’ that will advise the UK Border Agency on these ‘exceptionally talented’ migrants to ensure they are the brightest and best in their field:

  • The Royal Society, a fellowship of the world’s most eminent scientists, will be able to nominate up to 300 places;
  • Arts Council England, the national development agency for the arts, will also be able to nominate up to 300 places;
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering, Britain’s national academy for engineering, will have up to 200 places to nominate; and,
  • The British Academy, the national academy for the humanities and social sciences will be able to nominate up to 200 places.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said:

‘The UK is a global leader in science, humanities and engineering and we are a cultural centre for the arts.  We will continue to welcome those who have the most to offer and contribute to our society and economy.

‘Our new exceptional talent route, available for up to 1000 applicants, will ensure that we continue to attract the brightest into the UK and keep the UK a global leader.

‘This comes at a time of major reform of the immigration system to bring net migration back down to the tens of thousands, tackle abuses and make sure that the immigration system meets the needs of the country.’

Migrants seeking entry under the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent category will not need to be sponsored by an employer but will need to be recommended by one of the competent bodies.

Chief Executive of Arts Council England, Alan Davey said:

‘We welcome the launch of this special visa scheme which will enable the very best artists of international standing to live and work in the UK.

‘The international exchange of artists enriches their art, and I’m sure audiences will welcome the opportunity to experience the finest artistic talent from across the world.’

It will be for each competent body to select those who will qualify for recommendation and we are also publishing the criteria for their endorsement today. 

The President of the British Academy, Sir Adam Roberts said:

‘The Humanities and Social Sciences are flourishing in the UK and attract many excellent scholars from overseas. 

‘The British Academy is ready to play its part in identifying those outstanding scholars for whom Tier 1 is the appropriate visa category.’

While the government has allotted a number of places to each body it will be open to the bodies to transfer additional places to those with more demand if this becomes necessary.

President of the Royal Society, Sir Paul Nurse said:

‘The UK is a global leader in science because we can attract the best  minds  from around the world to work with our own home grown talent.  
‘The government has listened to the science community’s concerns  about  jeopardising our international leadership by restricting the  immigration of scientists and the Royal Society will play its part in  ensuring that the very best international talent can continue to  come to the UK to work.’

Those admitted under the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent category will initially be granted three years and four months leave. They will be able to extend their stay for a further two years and settlement may be available after five years’ residence in the UK.

President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Sir John Parker (Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering) said;

‘In order to safeguard the UK’s future competitiveness, we must ensure  that it remains an attractive destination for world class engineers. 
‘I am confident that this new visa route will help to encourage global  excellence to come to the UK.’