Government Doubles Number of Exceptional Talent Visas Available

Michael Thorpe
12th December 2017

The number of Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visas available to individuals in science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology or the arts has been doubled. These visas are available to individuals recognised as world leaders in their field and endorsed by one of the following organisations:

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

A Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa allows the holder to live and work in the UK for up to 5 years and 4 months. After this time, Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa holders can either apply for a renewal or apply for settlement. The number of visas available under this scheme has now doubled from 1,000 to 2,000. According to Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, “The UK’s innovative industries, including the thriving digital technology sector, are at the centre of our industrial strategy and making sure that businesses in these fields have access to exceptional talent from across the world is vitally important.”

This move comes at a time when many industries are concerned about the future of hiring post-Brexit. It is hoped that the tech industry in particular will be reassured about the future of hiring EU and non-EU nationals. Reports on the potential impact of Brexit on the tech industry are varied. While some have pointed out that the majority of tech companies hire from outside the EU, and therefore they won’t be as negatively impacted as previously thought. Others are pointing to the lack of confidence in the UK as a global destination for tech companies to put down roots. When we consider that the tech industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK, in increase of 1,000 visas per year

However, prominent groups in the music industry are calling for more to be done to ensure the future of touring after Brexit. The head of UK Music has called for steps to be taken to ensure touring artists can still travel without visas after Brexit and has called for the introduction of a EU Touring Passport for musicians. This would allow visa free travel throughout Europe. The cost of touring for musicians has increased greatly in recent years and this could be set to get worse after Brexit. Gaining work permits and visas for every country on a tour can be a prohibitively high expense.