UK to attract international stars with Global Talent Visas

Britain adds 73 prestigious awards, including Baftas, to list of prizes eligible for fast-track visas

Award winners and sport stars will be able to live and work in the UK more easily under new Immigration Rules announced by the government. Getty Images

The UK is launching a fast-track talent visa, similar to the UAE's golden visa, in a bid to attract the world's most gifted people.

It has added the winners of 73 prestigious awards to the list of those eligible to apply for its Global Talent Visa.

It comes amid fears that Brexit may pose challenges and deter talented people from coming to the UK.

The Home Office also said simplified Immigration Rules will make it more straightforward for professional athletes across sports to live and work in the country.

People at the pinnacle of their career and who have won prestigious awards from the world of arts, science, engineering, medicine and more will now be able to take advantage of Global Talent Visas. This includes winners of the Booker Prize, Academy Awards, Baftas and the Wolf Prize.

Under this path, applicants will be able to fast-track the endorsement application and instead make a single visa application.

“We want to attract the world’s greatest minds at the crowning point of their careers, so the UK remains number one on the global leader board in sports, the arts, science, film and technology sectors,” said Home Secretary Priti Patel.

“Through our points-based system we focus on talent and skills, not where someone comes from, and the immigration changes we’re making demonstrate this, making it much easier for the brightest and best to live and work in the UK.”

Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan has taken advantage of the UAE's golden ticket system. Marcus Brandt / AFP

While continuing to offer an option for anyone wishing to come to the UK for 12 months or less, the new route, which opens next month, brings together and replaces the current Tier 2 and Tier 5 paths, providing a dedicated and simplified visa for sportspeople and their sponsors.

The Football Association (FA) hopes the move will encourage more of the world's top footballers to come to the UK.

“The FA welcomes the Home Office changes to simplify the rules required for a visa application for an International Sportsperson,” a representative for the Football Association said.

“Ensuring a faster system after obtaining a Governing Body Endorsement from the FA will allow for the world’s best footballers to enter the country more easily.”

The government has added the Benjamin Franklin Medal, Faraday Medal, L’Oréal-Unesco Award for Women in Science and various Wolf Prize categories to attract leading scientists. The new rules are also aimed at luring people from the film industry and the arts and it has added the Booker Prize, various Queen Elizabeth Competition categories, the International Dublin Literary Award, best supporting actor and actress across the Academy Awards, the Baftas and winners of Golden Globes to the fast-track criteria.

“The UK is a proud home to some of the world’s most talented stars and the changes we’ve made will make it even easier for people at the top of their game to come and work in the UK,” said Immigration Minister Kevin Foster.

“Our immigration rule changes put our words into action, delivering on the government’s ambition to attract the brightest and best talent to the UK and ensure we build back better.”

The UAE has seen many leading names take advantage of its golden ticket visa system, which it was introduced in 2019.

From Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan to Lebanese popstars Najwa Karam and Myriam Fares, the UAE has awarded dozens of cultural personalities a golden visa.

Last month, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, UAE Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said the golden visa scheme would be extended to pioneers of humanitarian work.

The initiative was launched to recognise experts in various fields who can play a pivotal role in supporting the nation’s progress.

Updated: September 13, 2021, 1:34 PM