The Government has announced a new Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa for architects. Eligible migrants must showcase that they are either already renowned in their field of work or that they are ‘up and coming’.
Only migrants who worked in digital technology, science, engineering, humanities and the arts were eligible for this visa up until now. Fashion Designers were only recently included under ‘the arts’ umbrella in July 2018. The UK Government announced in December 2018 that architects will similarly be eligible. Architects will similarly be endorsed by Arts Council England since they also come under ‘the arts’ remit.
The news comes as a welcoming step forward in anticipation of Brexit. Anxieties had risen in recent months that architects would fail to meet the criteria of an alternative visa, such as the Tier 2 Work Visa. Yet now that architects can apply for a Tier 1 as soon as the 10th January (next week), industry-wide experts have breathed a sigh of relief.
For the time being, this route is for international migrants only. However, it is expected that once the UK leaves the EU in March, EEA citizens are subjected to immigration rules. This means that it is assumed EEA architects will also be eligible to apply after Brexit.
The benefits of Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa include
- Up to five years stay in the UK
- Being able to bring family members (dependants) to the UK.
- Being able to travel from the UK and return again.
- The possibility of renewing or switching visa before the first one expires.
- Amounting significant time in the UK that can pave the way to permanent settlement such as Indefinite Leave to Remain.
- One of the key attractions to the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent route is that applicants will not need to seek a sponsor from a UK employer. This means they can switch jobs, volunteer, start a business or even freelance without informing the Government. Successful applicants will not jeopardise their immigration status either by doing so.
There are notable key differences in criteria and eligibility. For example, budding architects at the start of their career will need to provide different documentation than those of reputable and renowned architects. Furthermore, architects must also be assessed by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Only once RIBA has approved the candidate’s application will they then be endorsed by Arts Council England.
The application process can appear complex without the professional guidance of a lawyer. Only 250 places are reserved by Arts Council England, making applications very competitive. It is recommended that aspiring candidates seek the aid of a caseworker who can check through documentation.
Need further help? Why not contact one of our experienced immigration lawyers. They can help you with any queries relating to the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent route.