What is the change? The Home Office has announced a plan to introduce a new fast-track visa for select professionals with skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

What does the change mean? The new scheme will be part of the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa route and will offer three-year visas to eligible individuals in the STEM fields. Once their visa has expired, they will be eligible to apply for permanent residence in the U.K.

  • Implementation time frame: To be announced.
  • Visas/permits affected: Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visas.
  • Who is eligible: Foreign nationals in STEM related professions. Applicants will not need to meet a minimum salary threshold to be eligible or have a job in the U.K. to apply.
  • Business impact: The new visa category aims to help companies recruit foreign labor in the science and research sectors.

Additional information: In addition to introducing a new fast-track visa for STEM professionals, the Home Office has announced additional proposed changes to the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa including: removing the requirement that those endorsed as Exceptional Promise must have been awarded a prestigious research fellowship, opening up the route to those who have received European research funding, and removing the cap of individuals able to obtain the visa.

The new fast-track visa will allow holders to obtain dependent visas for spouses/partners and children under 18.

Analysis & Comments: The expansion of the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent route is good news for companies looking to hire foreign talent in STEM fields as it will help them attract experienced foreign nationals. More information regarding the application process will be announced later this year.

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