As part of the Government's plans to rebuild the UK economy, a number of new visas designed to modernise the UK's immigration system have been announced. New measures will be implemented to attract and retain the most highly skilled individuals to drive forward innovation:

  • Creation of a new Elite Points Based visa
  • Redesigning the existing Global Talent visa to make it more streamlined for holders of international prizes and scholarships to automatically qualify
  • Making it easier to qualify for the Innovator visa for those with the skills and experience to establish an innovative business
  • Creating a new Global Business Mobility visa to help overseas businesses to establish a presence or transfer staff to the UK
  • Expanding the Global Entrepreneur Programme to market the UK's visa offering and developing an overseas talent network

During 2020 and so far in 2021, the Government has implemented a number of significant changes following the end of freedom of movement. The latest proposals will build on the UK's increasingly global outlook and make the UK a leading destination for the most talented individuals and innovative entrepreneurs from around the world.

Elite Visa

The Government has committed to introducing a new 'Elite' points-based visa by March 2022. The 'Elite' visa will include a 'scale-up stream, enabling highly skilled migrants with a job offer from a recognised high-growth business to qualify for a fast-track visa. This is highly likely to be without the need for sponsorship from a licensed sponsor. The route is primarily being introduced to enable the likes of cybersecurity firms to source talent from overseas.

Global Talent Visa

The Government has also announced that it plans to reform the Global Talent visa route. The route will now be open for holders of international prizes and winners of scholarships to automatically qualify for the route. The Global Talent route opened to new applicants on 20 February 2020 and has already been subject to various amendments, most recently on 1 December 2020.

Innovator Visa

The Innovator visa route is also to be redeveloped to make it easier for those with the skills and experience to establish an innovative business and apply for an Innovator visa.

Global Business Mobility Visa

The Government has also indicated that it will launch a new 'Global Business Mobility' visa by Spring 2022. This visa route will be for overseas businesses that wish to establish a presence in the UK or to send a team from one country to the UK for business purposes.

Other changes to the immigration system

The Government has also announced that it will:

  • Provide additional support to small companies that are using the visa system for the first time
  • Modernise the immigration sponsorship system to reduce the burden on businesses trying to recruit global talent
  • Expansion of the Global Entrepreneur Programme by marketing the UK's visa offering and exploring building a global overseas talent network

Originally Published by Cleaver Fulton Rankin, March 2021

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