News article

New fast-track visa to help attract specialist skills

12 August 2019

New fast-track immigration offer for selected individuals with specialist skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects

The Home Office will launch a new fast-track visa route later this year to help the UK attract the world’s top scientists. The fast-track immigration route will be designed to ensure that those with specialist skills in STEM subjects can come to the UK and make a contribution to the UK’s science and research sector, significantly enhancing the intellectual and knowledge base.

How will the new fast-track visa work?
The new visa 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.

Fast-track visa options
To attract specialist skills, options which could be discussed with leading institutions and universities include:

  • abolishing the cap on numbers under the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visas
  • expanding the pool of UK research institutes and universities able to endorse candidates
  • creating criteria that confer automatic endorsement, subject to immigration checks
  • ensuring dependents have full access to the labour market
  • removing the need to hold an offer of employment before arriving
  • accelerated path to settlement

For further information download the Home Office’s Global Talent visa factsheet (PDF, 370K).