A new fact-track visa offer to cement the UK as a science superpower

The Home Office will launch a new fast-track immigration offer for selected individuals with skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, building on the existing Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa route. The new scheme will provide eligible individuals with a three-year visa, during which they can come and go from the UK at will. At the end of three years, those on the scheme would be able apply for indefinite leave to remain (giving a permanent right to reside in the UK and access to benefits and healthcare on the same basis as
British citizens). There will be no minimum salary requirement and individuals do not need to secure a job before arriving in the UK (unlike the existing Tier 2 route for skilled workers). Individuals will be able to bring dependants (spouses/partners and children), with adult dependants having full access to the labour market. This initiative will ensure that those with specialist skills in STEM subjects can come to the UK and make an important contribution to leading science and research sector, significantly enhancing the intellectual and knowledge base of the UK. The Home Office, together with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the scientific community, facilitate access for this specialist and skilled cohort of individuals to come and work, study and live in the UK.

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This new offer will ensure that those with specialist skills in STEM subjects can come to the UK and make an important contribution to our leading science and research sectors, significantly enhancing the intellectual and knowledge base of the UK. They propose to do this by substantially and radically expanding the operation of the existing Tier 1 Exceptional Talent route. This will include:

  • Reviewing the existing Exceptional Talent selection criteria to open it up to individuals who are integral to scientific / research teams;
  • Removing the requirement for those endorsed as Exceptional Promise to have been awarded a prestigious Research Fellowship;
  • Opening up the route to those who have received European research funding;
  • Re-branding the route to recognise the country’s desire to attract global talent; and
  • Uncapping the route, to ensure that those with the required skill-set would be able to secure places.
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