Airport - visa routes

Use it or lose it - exploring underused UK visa routes

The Skilled Worker route is becoming a popular choice for migrant workers in post-Brexit UK now that European citizens are subject to immigration control and require sponsorship unless they are able to apply under other categories such as the EU Settlement Scheme. Sponsorship of migrant workers can be quite administratively burdensome on both employers and sponsored workers, it may therefore be worth looking at alternative work visas, if the worker is eligible under the categories discussed below.

Global Talent Visa

The Global Talent visa is a route for applicants considered leaders in their field or those who have the potential to become leaders. This covers applicants working in:

  • digital technology
  • arts and culture (including film and television)
  • academia and research across disciplines from engineering to medicine

A Freedom of Information request submitted by Latitude Law confirmed that only 2970 Global Talent entry clearance (permission to enter) applications were granted by UK Visas and Immigration between 1 January 2022 and 31 December 2022 and that only 34% of applicants were female. The data does not confirm the reason why women are not submitting as many applications under this route. We would encourage more women to apply if they believe they could be considered a Global Talent endorsement candidate under exceptional talent or exceptional promise.

For those who meet the eligibility criteria to apply, it is an attractive visa route for the following reasons:

  • For applicants from majority non-English speaking countries, there is no English language requirement as with other visa categories such as the Skilled Worker route.
  • The application fee for stage 1 endorsement applications is £456 and the stage 2 visa application fee is £168, which is substantially less than the visa fees and further charges incurred for most sponsored worker routes. An immigration healthcare surcharge will also be applied for each year of permission to stay in the UK.
  • Applicants endorsed as Exceptional Talent are able to apply for settlement in the UK after three years. This may be combined with previous time spent in other points-based work visa categories.
  • Applicants who are not able to apply for settlement after three years (those endorsed as Exceptional Promise by Tech Nation or Arts Council England), can still obtain up to five years’ permission to stay in the UK, without having to extend their visa.
  • Applicants are not required to demonstrate a sufficient amount of savings at the time of applying to support themselves when they arrive in the UK.
  • Applicants can work in self-employed and most employed roles without sponsorship. However, they must have earned income in the UK, during their period of limited permission to stay, in the field in which they were initially endorsed if they intend to apply for settlement or an extension of their permission to stay under this route.

Applications for endorsement as a digital technology candidate are currently being reviewed and endorsed by Tech Nation. In January 2023, Tech Nation announced it would be ceasing operations in its current form from 31 March 2023, following the removal of its core funding from the UK government.  Tech Nation has now confirmed it will continue to issue endorsements in the digital technology subcategory of the Global Talent route.

Youth Mobility Scheme

Applications under the Youth Mobility Visa category are for citizens aged between 18 and 30 (in some cases up to 35 from June 2023) from the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • Hong Kong
  • Republic of Korea
  • Taiwan
  • San Marino
  • Iceland
  • India

Invitation to apply arrangements operate in respect of Japanese, Taiwanese, Hong Kong, Korean and Indian citizens. Applicants can also apply if they’re a British overseas citizen, a British overseas territories citizen or a British national (overseas).

If the visa application is granted, the applicant can stay in the UK for a maximum of two years (three for certain nationalities from June 2023), and leave and return at any point within this period of time. If the applicant turns 31 during their permission to stay in the UK, they can stay for as long as their visa is valid. The applicant is permitted to work and study in the UK, without sponsorship, during their period of permission to stay and they are able to ‘switch’ into other visa categories without being required to leave the UK.

There have been recent changes to the Immigration Rules confirmed for this temporary visa route which will take effect from 29 June 2023. If an application is made before 29 June 2023, it will be decided in accordance with the Immigration Rules in force until 28 June 2023.

For applications made after 29 June 2023, there will be new quotas for each participating country in the Youth Mobility Scheme which will be included when the Immigration Rules changes take effect. Canada will have an additional 2,000 places, bringing its quota to 8,000 places. Australia will have an additional 5000 places, bringing its quota to 35,000 places. As mentioned in our recent article, citizens of New Zealand applying under this route will have more flexible conditions on their permission to stay. Applicants aged 18 to 35 will be eligible and the total period of stay will increase from two to three years.

Latitude Law’s specialist team helps many individuals and international businesses & organisations with enquiries in relation to individuals relocating to the UK for work. Call us today to speak to one of our experts concerning your relocation to the UK on 0300 131 6767 or complete our enquiry form below and we will get back to you.

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