New route into the UK for migrants with “Exceptional Talent”

The government announced recently that it will actively encourage “exceptionally talented leaders” in the fields of science, humanities, engineering and the arts to come to the UK by opening a new Tier 1 category entitled “Exceptional Talent”.

While the Tier 1 General routes remain closed, the new Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category will open on the 9th of August 2011 and will have a limit of 1000 places in the first year, with 500 places available between the 9th of August and the 30th of November and a further 500 from the 1st of December to the 31st of March 2012.

“The UK is a global leader in science, humanities and engineering and we are a cultural centre for the arts,” Immigration Minister Damian Green said. “We will continue to welcome those who have the most to offer and contribute to our society and economy. Our new exceptional talent route, available for up to 1,000 applicants, will ensure that we continue to attract the brightest into the UK and keep the UK a global leader. This comes at a time of major reform of the immigration system to bring net migration back down to the tens of thousands, tackle abuses and make sure that the immigration system meets the needs of the country.”

  • Those wishing to enter the UK under the Tier 1 (exceptional Talent) route must have a valid entry clearance for entry under this route.
  • Those seeking entry to the new route will not need to be sponsored by an employer, but will need to be recommended by one of the competent bodies.
  • This category will be open to those already recognised in their field, and those with the potential to be recognised as leaders in their respective fields.
  • The route will be overseen by world-renowned ‘competent bodies’, which will advise UKBA to ensure that they are the brightest and best in their field:
    • The Royal Society will be invited to nominate up to 300 places;
    • Arts Council England will also be invited to nominate up to 300 places;
    • The Royal Academy of Engineering will be invited to nominate up to 200 places;
    • The British Academy – the national academy for the humanities and social sciences – will be able to nominate up to 200 places.
    • These bodies will be open to transfer additional places to those with more demand if this becomes necessary.
  • The number of places will be reviewed at the end of March 2012.

To find out more about the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Route, visit or call 0808 141 5508.

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