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Great ideas grow with diverse minds and that is why the UK is welcoming global talent to work and live in the UK.

Introduction to visas

The UK is welcoming top talent in science, research and technology. The UK has a wide range of visas available, whether you want to work, train, study, invest or visit.

Most UK visas allow you to bring your partner and any children under 18 to the UK. You may be eligible for more than one visa. You should read all information in full before you make your application.

 

Global Talent visa

The Global Talent visa is for exceptionally talented and exceptionally promising individuals in research and academia, digital technology and arts and culture wishing to work in the UK. It lasts for up to 5 years in each application and you can extend it.

https://www.gov.uk/global-talent

Endorsing bodies of the Global Talent visa

To be considered for entry under the Global Talent visa, applicants must normally* seek endorsement from one of six endorsing bodies engaged by the Home Office.

The research and technology Global Talent visa endorsing bodies are the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society, Tech Nation, and UK Research and Innovation. These endorsing bodies will make an endorsement decision based on the evidence you provide.

There are three routes to fast-track a science endorsement:

  • if you have accepted an eligible position at an approved UK higher education institution or research institute with responsibility either for academic, research or innovation leadership and development, or for directing or leading an individual or team research or innovation project or programme of work
  • holders of certain individual fellowships
  • research leaders and team members working on a research grant from an endorsed funder approved by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

If you do not have any of the above, you can also apply by having your application peer reviewed.

*Holders of certain prestigious prizes can apply for a visa without going through the initial endorsement stage. The list of eligible awards and further information is available on GOV.UK

After you have received your endorsement, you must then apply for your visa application.

How old do I need to be?

18+.

Can I settle in the UK?

May be eligible to settle after 3 years.

Do I need to be sponsored by an employer?

No. You will need an endorsement from a Global Talent endorsing body*.

Do I need to have a full time job?

The Global Talent visa allows applicants to be self employed, in salaried employment, undertake contract work etc. Individuals are able to move employers and / or take sabbaticals during the duration of their visa, without making a new application.

Is there a set salary requirement?

No.

Do I need to prove I speak English?

No, unless you apply to settle in the UK.

Can my family come and work?

Yes, with limited exceptions to the type of work.

How much does the visa cost (£ per person) for those coming from outside the UK?

£716.

How much is the Immigration Health Surcharge (£ per person per year applied for)?

£1,035.

Do I need to have additional funds available?

No.

What is the application process for those coming from outside the UK?

Once you have received an endorsement from an endorsing body, you will need to apply for entry clearance within 3 months.

Decision upon application to the Home Office usually takes 3 weeks.

Can I switch from another visa?

Yes, with the exception of some visa types.

Read more

Innovator Founder visa

The Innovator Founder visa is for individuals wanting to set up a new and innovative business in the UK. It lasts for up to 3 years in each application and you can extend it.

How old do I need to be?

18+.

Can I settle in the UK?

May be eligible to settle after 3 years.

Do I need to be sponsored by an employer?

No. You will need an endorsement from an Innovator Founder visa endorsing body. The majority of applicants will need to pay for an endorsement application. The current fee for a New Business assessment undertaken by an endorsing body that you have applied to is £1,000.

Do I need to have a full time job?

Yes, required to be at your innovative business.

Is there a set salary requirement?

No.

Do I need to prove I speak English?

Yes, assessment required.

Can my family come and work?

Yes, with limited exceptions to the type of work.

How much does the visa cost (£ per person) for those coming from outside the UK?

£1,191.

How much is the Immigration Health Surcharge (£ per person per year applied for)?

£1,035.

Do I need to have additional funds available?

Yes, £1,270 in your bank account for the last 28 days.

What is the application process for those coming from outside the UK?

Decision upon application to the Home Office usually takes 3 weeks.

Can I switch from another visa?

Yes, with the exception of some visa types.

Read more

High Potential Individual (HPI) visa

Individuals can come to the UK on the High Potential Individual visa if they have been awarded a qualification equivalent to a UK bachelor’s or postgraduate degree from an eligible university in the last 5 years. It lasts for up to 2 years, or up to 3 years if you have a PhD or other doctoral qualification. It cannot be extended.

How old do I need to be?

18+.

Can I settle in the UK?

Not through this visa type.

Do I need to be sponsored by an employer?

No. You will need proof your qualification is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s or postgraduate degree from an eligible university in the last 5 years.

Do I need to have a full time job?

No. The HPI visa allows applicants to be self employed, in salaried employment, undertake contract work etc. Individuals are able to move employers and / or take sabbaticals during the duration of their visa, without making a new application.

Is there a set salary requirement?

No.

Do I need to prove I speak English?

Yes, assessment required.

Can my family come and work?

Yes, with limited exceptions to the type of work.

How much does the visa cost (£ per person) for those coming from outside the UK?

£1,032. This cost includes £210 for an application to Ecctis to verify and confirm equivalency of an applicants qualification (which is mandatory) and £822 for the visa itself.

How much is the Immigration Health Surcharge (£ per person per year applied for)?

£1,035.

Do I need to have additional funds available?

Yes, £1,270 in your bank account for the last 28 days. This only applies if you are applying from outside the UK or have been in the UK for less than 12 months.

What is the application process for those coming from outside the UK?

You must apply for your visa within 5 years of being awarded your qualification from an eligible university.

Decision upon application to the Home Office usually takes 3 weeks.

Can I switch from another visa?

Yes, with the exception of some visa types.

Read more

Scale-up visa

Individuals can come to the UK to take an eligible job with an approved high-growth UK business with a Scale-up sponsor licence on the Scale-up visa. It lasts for up to 2 years in each application and it can be extended.

How old do I need to be?

18+.

Can I settle in the UK?

May be eligible to settle after 5 years.

Do I need to be sponsored by an employer?

Yes, you must be sponsored by a licensed Scale-up organisation.

Do I need to have a full time job?

Yes. The job is required to be on the list of eligible occupations, you must work at the sponsoring organisation for at least 6 months.

Is there a set salary requirement?

Yes, requirement for highest of:

  • £34,600 or
  • the ‘going rate’ for the type of job.

Do I need to prove I speak English?

Yes, assessment required.

Can my family come and work?

Yes, with limited exceptions to the type of work.

How much does the visa cost (£ per person) for those coming from outside the UK?

£822.

How much is the Immigration Health Surcharge (£ per person per year applied for)?

£1,035.

Do I need to have additional funds available?

Yes, £1,270 in your bank account for last the 28 days unless your employer agrees to cover this. This only applies if you are applying from outside the UK or have been in the UK for less than 12 months.

What is the application process for those coming from outside the UK?

You can apply for the visa up to 3 months before the date you are due to start working as listed on your certificate of sponsorship.

Decision upon application to the Home Office usually takes 3 weeks.

Can I switch from another visa?

Yes, with the exception of some visa types.

Read more

Skilled Worker visa

Individuals can come to the UK to take an eligible job with an approved employer on the Skilled Worker visa. It lasts for up to 5 years in each application and it can be extended.

How old do I need to be?

18+.

Can I settle in the UK?

May be eligible to settle after 5 years.

Do I need to be sponsored by an employer?

Yes, you must be sponsored by a licensed organisation.

Do I need to have a full time job?

Yes. The job is required to be on the list of eligible occupations, and you must work at the sponsoring organisation.

Is there a set salary requirement?

Yes, requirement for highest of:

  • £25,600 or
  • £10.10 per hour or
  • the ‘going rate’ for the type of job.

Do I need to prove I speak English?

Yes, assessment required.

Can my family come and work?

Yes, with limited exceptions to the type of work.

How much does the visa cost (£ per person) for those coming from outside the UK?

Up to 3 years: £719.

More than 3 years: £1,420.

Discounted fees are available if you are being sponsored for a job on the Shortage Occupation List (Immigration Salary List from April) –

Up to 3 years: £551

More than 3 years: £1,084

How much is the Immigration Health Surcharge (£ per person per year applied for)?

£1,035.

Do I need to have additional funds available?

Yes, £1,270 in your bank account for last 28 days unless your employer agrees to cover this.

What is the application process for those coming from outside the UK?

You can apply for the visa up to 3 months before the date you are due to start working as listed on your certificate of sponsorship.

Decision upon application to the Home Office usually takes 3 weeks.

Can I switch from another visa?

Yes, with the exception of some visa types.

Read more

Global Business Mobility visa

The Global Business Mobility visa is for workers temporarily assigned to the UK by an overseas business. There are 5 different types of Global Business Mobility visa depending on the purpose of the assignment. Senior executives and specialist Intra-corporate transferees can come for up to 5 years; graduate trainees, expansion workers, and secondment workers can come for 1 year; and service suppliers can come for 6 months or 1 year depending on the trade agreement that relates to the service they’re providing. Extensions are permitted in some cases, but the individual’s stay under this route cannot normally exceed 5 years in a 6 year period.

How old do I need to be?

18+.

Can I settle in the UK?

Not through this visa type.

Do I need to be sponsored by an employer?

Yes, you must be sponsored by a licensed organisation.

Do I need to have a full time job?

No, both full time and part time work are permitted on this route as long as the salary requirement is met.

Is there a set salary requirement?

Yes, except for secondment workers and service suppliers coming for purposes covered by relevant trade commitments.

Do I need to prove I speak English?

No.

Can my family come and work?

Yes, with limited exceptions to the type of work.

How much does the visa cost (£ per person) for those coming from outside the UK?

Depends on the type of Global Business Mobility visa applied for.

How much is the Immigration Health Surcharge (£ per person per year applied for)?

£1,035.

Do I need to have additional funds available?

Yes, £1,270 in your bank account for the last 28 days unless your employer agrees to cover this.

What is the application process for those coming from outside the UK?

You can apply for the visa up to 3 months before the date you are due to start working as listed on your certificate of sponsorship.

Decision upon application to the Home Office usually takes 3 weeks.

Can I switch from another visa?

Yes, with the exception of some visa types.

More details

https://www.gov.uk/uk-expansion-worker-visa

https://www.gov.uk/senior-specialist-worker-visa

https://www.gov.uk/secondment-worker-visa

https://www.gov.uk/service-supplier-visa

https://www.gov.uk/graduate-trainee-visa

Read more

Temporary Work – Government Authorised Exchange visa (GAE)

The GAE visa is for work experience, training, to complete an Overseas Government Language Programme, or for research or a fellowship. It lasts for up to 1 or 2 years, depending on the type of scheme.

How old do I need to be?

No age restriction.

Can I settle in the UK?

Not through this visa type.

Do I need to be sponsored by an employer?

Yes, you must be sponsored by an organisation authorised to sponsor on the particular scheme you have applied for.

Do I need to have a full time job?

No. All engagements under this route must be supernumerary, so you cannot take on a permanent job within the sponsoring organisation, even on a temporary basis.

Is there a set salary requirement?

Yes, you must be in receipt of funding equivalent to at least National Minimum Wage (NMW).

Individuals undertaking work experience or internships may not be entitled to the NMW due to specific legislative exemptions.

Do I need to prove I speak English?

No.

Can my family come and work?

Yes, with limited exceptions to the type of work.

How much does the visa cost (£ per person) for those coming from outside the UK?

£298.

How much is the Immigration Health Surcharge (£ per person per year applied for)?

£1,035.

Do I need to have additional funds available?

Yes, £1,270 in your bank account for the last 28 days unless your employer agrees to cover this.

What is the application process for those coming from outside the UK?

You must have a sponsor.

Decision upon application to the Home Office usually takes 3 weeks.

Can I switch from another visa?

Switching is not generally permitted. The only exception to this is where the individual was last granted permission as a Student and they have completed a recognised bachelor’s or postgraduate degree and are being sponsored to undertake either a professional qualification or an internship.

Read more

All details are current as of 3 January 2024, but are subject to change at any time. This information should only be treated as guidance and does not constitute immigration advice.

If none of these visa types are right for you, you can find more information about other visa types on gov.uk.

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