In recognition of the importance of attracting talented individuals to come to the UK, the government has announced its intention to double the number of visas available in the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category from 1,000 to 2,000 per annum.

This route is for exceptionally talented individuals in the fields of science, humanities, engineering, the arts and technology, who wish to work in the UK. These individuals are those who are already internationally recognised at the highest level as world leaders in their particular field, or who have already demonstrated exceptional promise and are likely to become world leaders or globally recognised in their field of expertise.

This category requires an endorsement from one of five endorsing organisations which are:

  • Tech City UK
  • Arts Council England
  • The British Academy
  • The Royal Society
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering

The current allocation of 1,000 visas is split across these five endorsing bodies, however, the additional 1,000 visas will be allocated to any one of these endorsing bodies dependent on need.

The application is a two stage process, the first stage being the application for the endorsement and the second stage is a visa application. Visas can be granted for up to five years and thereafter the applicant could apply for indefinite leave to remain. The advantage of this category is that the applicant does not require sponsorship by a business in order to work in the UK.