LONDON: Britain has announced a new visa category to facilitate the immigration for exceptionally talented people from India and other non-EU countries in the fields of science, humanities, engineering and the arts.
The new Tier 1 (exceptional talent) category will open on 9 August 2011, and will have 1,000 places in the first year of operation, official sources here said.
The new category will facilitate not only those who have already been recognised but also those with the potential to be recognised as leaders in their respective fields, the sources added.
There will be 500 places available between the August 9 and November 30 and a further 500 places available from the December 1 to March 31, 2012. The number of places will be reviewed at the end of March 2012. The immigration category will be overseen by four ‘competent bodies’, which will advise the UK border agency on these ‘exceptionally talented’ migrants to ensure that they are the brightest and best in their field.
The bodies are: the Royal Society, a fellowship of the world’s most eminent scientists, will be able to nominate up to 300 places; the Arts Council England, the national development agency for the arts, will also be able to nominate up to 300 places; the Royal Academy of Engineering, Britain’s national academy for engineering, will have up to 200 places to nominate; and the British Academy, the national academy for the humanities and social sciences will be able to nominate up to 200 places.
The Immigration minister, Mr Damian Green said: “The UK is a global leader in science, humanities and engineering and we are a cultural centre for the arts: we will continue to welcome those who have the most to offer and contribute to our society and economy”.
Migrants seeking entry to the UK under this category will not need to be sponsored by an employer, but will need to be recommended by one of the competent bodies. While the government has allotted a number of places to each body, it will be open to the bodies to transfer additional places to those with more demand if this becomes necessary, the sources added.
Those admitted under the category will initially be granted permission to stay for 3 years and 4 months. They will then be able to extend their stay for a further 2 years, and settlement may be available after 5 years’ residence in the UK.
Mr Alan Davey, the chief executive of arts council England, said: “We welcome the launch of this special visa scheme, which will enable the very best artists of international standing to live and work in the UK”. It will be for each competent body to select those who will qualify for recommendation, and we have also published the criteria for their endorsement.
The president of the British Academy, Sir Adam Roberts, said: “The Humanities and Social Sciences are flourishing in the UK and attract many excellent scholars from overseas. The British Academy is ready to play its part in identifying those outstanding scholars for whom Tier 1 is the appropriate visa category.”