TIER 1 EXCEPTIONAL TALENT
1. The Government will introduce a new immigration route for exceptionally talented migrants, within Tier 1 of the Points Based System. The route is intended as a "niche" category for exceptional people in the fields of science, arts and humanities who wish to work and eventually settle in the UK. It will apply to those who are internationally recognized as world leaders in their field; and those younger migrants who show exceptional promise and who are likely to become internationally recognized world leaders in their field.
2. Migrants in this category will normally be eligible for entry through the normal routes within Tier 2 or Tier 5, and they may choose to use those routes. The alternative ways in are not mutually exclusive, however we expect most migrants in this field to come through Tiers 2 and 5.
3. As the Exceptional talent category is within Tier 1, migrants will not need sponsorship by an employer, though some will need to be endorsed by a designated competent body. Migrants will need to intend to pursue their occupation in the UK and continue to be active in it, but will not need a specific job offer. There will be no test on entry of the migrant's previous or future earnings.
4. The Exceptional Talent category should cover 3 situations:-
â€¢ Migrants who hold a designated award â€” e.g. the Nobel Prize - who may apply without endorsement by a competent body.
â€¢ Migrants who are intemationally recognised in their field as world leading talent and who are endorsed by a designated competent body
â€¢ Young Migrants who show exceptional promise and who are likely to become world leaders in their field and who are endorsed by a designated competent body
5. All migrants will need to show evidence that they can support and accommodate themselves in the UK, the current Tier 1 General rules will apply, and be subject to refusal under any General Grounds for Refusal in the Immigration Rules (e.g. previous immigration breaches or security issues).
6. Applicants will need to score 60 points before applying for a visa. Points will be awarded for:
â€¢ Holder of designated award (Nobel Prize) â€” 50 points; or â€¢ Endorsed by designated competent body â€” 50 points; and â€¢ Passing the maintenance criteriaâ€” 10 points (mandatory).
7. Exceptional talent migrants will be granted leave for 3 years, with the ability to extend for a further 2 years. Applications from world leaders and migrants demonstrating exceptional promise will need a further endorsement from a designated competent body at this stage.
8. Holders of designated awards, world leaders and migrants demonstrating exceptional promise will be able to apply for ILR after 5 years. World leaders and migrants demonstrating exceptional promise will need a further endorsement from a designated competent body at this stage. The numbers securing ILR may be subject to a numerical limit in due course.
9. The number of visas granted to Exceptional Talent will be limited to 1000 in 2011/12.
10. Applicants who are overseas should apply to the relevant visa issuing post using the designated form, complete with competent body endorsement where necessary. They will need to go thorough normal visa procedures such as biometrics. In-country should apply to UKBA. Applications will be referred to a central panel in the UK for approval and monitoring purposes. The panel will meet monthly.
â€¢ Should any awards be designated apart from the Nobel Prize? As this will confer eligibility without the need for endorsement, any awards need to be truly global and exceptional.
â€¢ Alternatively, should all applicants need to be endorsed by a competent body?
â€¢ Should we attempt to define more tightly the applicable criteria? Our view is that, apart from holders of e.g. the Nobel Prize, this is best left to peer review through the competent bodies.
â€¢ Should an upper age limit be imposed on those granted entry under the exceptional promise provisions e.g. 30?
Designated competent bodies
â€¢ Who should be the designated competent bodies ? They should be UK- based public bodies with a general remit for the promotion of excellence in their respective fields. In the first instance we intend to limit the number of such bodies, to a list such as:-
â€¢ How would they be designated ? To establish the scheme, we would invite these bodies, and any others that are recommended to us, to express an interest in endorsing applications and to invite them to propose the criteria that they intend to operate in order to secure their endorsement of individual applications. These criteria would require UKBA's agreement prior to the body issuing any endorsements.
â€¢ What would be the role of a designated competent body? It would be for the endorsing body to decide how they wished to manage requests for endorsement from potential applicants.
Royal Society of Medicine
Royal Society of Chemistry
Royal Society of Arts
Royal Society of Literature
Research Councils UK
The Arts Council D British Council
â€¢ Should UKBA apportion the limit of 1000 between the various designated competent bodies? We think that at least in the first year of the scheme, it should be operated on a first come first serve basis. It will not be apportioned between nationalities. â€¢ Should a sub-limit be placed on the number of "exceptional promise" migrants, e.g. one third of the total of 1000?
â€¢ Should the annual limit be apportioned on a monthly basis, like the interim limit for Ti General?
The UKBA Panel
â€¢ What should be the role of the UKBA panel which reviews the applications? The panel should avoid becoming a decision-making body. Migrants will be granted leave essentially on the strength of their competent body endorsement or the fact they have a designated award (and meet the applicable maintenance and General Grounds for Refusal criteria). The panel will monitor to ensure consistency and pursue any issues with the relevant competent body. They will also monitor numbers against the limit and instruct Posts to stop accepting applications once the limit is readied.