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Amendments to Immigration Rules: Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

The most recent Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules (HC309) has brought changes to the Tier 1 categories.

In relation to the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category, the category for talented individuals in the fields of science, humanities, engineering, the arts and digital technology to work in the UK without the need to be sponsored for employment in a specific post, there have been some important changes.

Number of places

The first big change is that the number of places available per year has been doubled from 1000 to 2000. This is to be allocated between the five Designated Competent Bodies (DCBs) according to demand, as set out in the Explanatory Memorandum:

“the additional 1,000 places will not be allocated between the DCBs at the start of each year. Instead they will form a pool of unallocated places which can be drawn on according to need on a first-come first-served basis by any DCBs which have used up their allocation.”

Settlement after three years for Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

The next big change is the introduction of accelerated settlement after three years, bringing the category in-line with Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) and (Investor) routes which have similar routes to settlement before five years.

The differentiation relates to the Applicant’s last endorsement by the relevant DCB: to settle after three continuous lawful years of residence an Applicant must have been endorsed under ‘exceptional talent’ rather than ‘exceptional promise’, where settlement can only be applied for after five years.

This means that recognised world leaders in their field can apply to settle after three years, and potential world leaders must wait until year five. This is set out in the amended paragraph 245F.

As with other PBS categories, the accelerated route does not apply to family members of Main Applicants.

Other changes

The Explanatory Memorandum also sets out the following updates:

  • Updates to the endorsement criteria used by the Royal Society, the British Academy and the Royal Academy of Engineering, at those DCBs’ request. These provide a simpler application process for applicants who hold specific peer-reviewed fellowships or who have been appointed to senior academic or research positions.
  • Minor changes to the criteria for endorsement by Arts Council England, at Arts Council England’s request.

Contact our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice and assistance in relation to application for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa, contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via our enquiry form.