What is the change? The United Kingdom will double the number of Exceptional Talent visas from 1,000 to 2,000 per year.

What does the change mean? Exceptional Talent visas are available to individuals who are emerging start-up or recognized leaders in the fields of technology, science, engineering, medicine or the arts.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visas.
  • Who is affected: Non-EU/EEA nationals who have been recognized as global leaders or promising future leaders in their fields.
  • Business impact: The increase in quotas is intended to attract tech start-ups and other innovative talent and ensure that London remains a competitive tech hub in Europe.

Background: Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visas do not require an employer sponsor, but applicants must be endorsed by one of the five designated U.K. organizations: Tech City UK, Arts Council England, The British Academy, The Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering. The 2,000 visas will be allocated among the five organizations.

BAL Analysis: Though still modest in number, the higher quota recognizes that the U.K. needs to attract global talent to compete in innovative technology, science and other fields.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact

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