United Kingdom: New Migration Category for Foreign Nationals with Exceptional Talent Now Open
The UK Border Agency (UKBA) is now accepting applications for the new Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) migration category for foreign nationals who are internationally recognized as world leaders or potential world-leading talents in the fields of science and the arts. The number of available visas in the category is subject to a numerical cap, with 1,000 places available between August 9, 2011 and April 5, 2012, 500 allocated between August 9 and November 30, 2011, and another 500 allocated between December 1, 2011 and April 5, 2012. The UK government will consider whether to release additional visa numbers in March 2012.
Foreign nationals do not require employer sponsorship to qualify for the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category, but they must be nominated by one of the following competent bodies:
- The Royal Society, a fellowship of the world’s most eminent scientists, authorized to nominate up to 300 places;
- The Arts Council England, the national development agency for the arts, authorized to nominate up to 300 places;
- The Royal Academy of Engineering, the national academy for engineering, authorized to nominate up to 200 places; or
- The British Academy, the national academy for the humanities and social sciences, authorized to nominate up to 200 places.
Foreign nationals submit their Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) applications directly to the UKBA, which will forward them to the competent body chosen by the applicant. Each competent body will determine how to select those who will qualify for nomination.
Foreign nationals admitted under the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category are granted an initial stay of three years and four months, which may be extended for an additional two years. They will be able to apply for permanent settlement after five years of residence.