The Exceptional Talent visa route will be replaced with the “Global Talent” route from 20th February 2020 according to a recent government press release. On a close look, there are no significant changes from the previous route. The new Global Talent visa will have no cap as opposed its predecessor and the designated competent bodies are now called endorsing bodies.
Individuals when applying previously, may show to endorsing bodies that they are active researchers by having PhD etc and then obtain an endorsement prior to the stage 2 immigration application process. The accelerated process is also maintained under which an automatic endorsement may be obtained if individuals held a specific fellowship award or were appointed to an eligible academic or research positions at UK higher education institutions or research institutes. It is anticipated that, under the new global talent visa, there will be no requirement for an individual to hold an offer of employment before arriving and the visa holders will not be tied to one specific job.
There is also a new fast track route introduced for academics, researchers, scientists, research engineers or other skilled research technology/methodology specialists who have a grant or award worth £30,000 or more, covering a minimum period of two years. Under the new route, individuals endorsed in the fields of science and medicine, engineering and humanities can apply for settlement after three years, immaterial of whether they were granted leave under the Exceptional Promise criteria or the Exceptional Talent criteria.
Furthermore, the absence criteria for Indefinite Leave to Remain has also been relaxed for those applicants endorsed in the fields of science and medicine, engineering and humanities (and their family). If they are undertaking research overseas, they may still be eligible even if they have absence of more than 180 days in any 12 months as the research element of the absence may be discounted. UK Research and Innovation has further details on the scheme and can be viewed here.