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Human Resources

Global Talent Visa

The Global Talent visa is open to academics and researchers who are internationally recognised as either world leaders or potential world-leading talent in their fields.

There are four routes available to applicants including fast track routes for Academic appointees, holders of eligible fellowships, and individuals working on successful grant applications from an endorsed funder.  

Who can apply?

The Global Talent visa is split into four routes, which are detailed below. UKRI have produced an applicant decision tree [PDF 100KB] to identify which route may be most appropriate. 

Unlike other visa categories, applicants for the Global Talent visa is not sponsored by Queen Mary. If an applicant would prefer to use this option we will need to ensure that they are supported with relevant evidence depending on the route they wish to apply to. 

The applications are made via a two step process, first an endorsement must be obtained from the relevant body. This is followed by the second stage visa application.

Please note that an endorsement does not guarantee a successful visa application. The final decision will rest with UK Visas and Immigration. 

Global Talent visa routes

There are four routes to obtaining endorsement for a Global Talent visa in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, the social sciences and the humanities: 

  1. Academic appointments
  2. Individual fellowships
  3. Endorsed funders
  4. Peer review

For the endorsed funders route, UKRI will review applications from any academic or research discipline. For the other three routes, the applicant must select the appropriate endorsing body based on their field of research. 

The British Academy reviews applications from the humanities and social sciences, the Royal Academy of Engineering covers engineering, and the Royal Society covers the natural and medical sciences.

The full list of eligible disciplines and sub-disciplines per endorsing body is available in the Home Office Guidance.

Fast-track endorsement for individuals who have been appointed to an academic or research position at an approved UK higher education institution (HEI) or research institute where they:

  1. have responsibility for academic, research or innovation leadership and development; or
  2. direct or lead an individual or team in:
    1. a research project or programme of work; or
    2. an innovation project or programme of work

Which route will the candidate be eligible for?

Have responsibility for academic, research or innovation leadership and development

This category is for individuals in senior leadership roles at a departmental, faculty or institutional level. Typical duties may include strategy development and delivery and overseeing the management of staff and resources.

Example roles (not exhaustive) include Vice-Chancellor/Principal, Pro Vice-Chancellor/Vice-Principal, Dean, Associate Dean, Head of School, and Research Institute Director.

Direct or lead an individual or team

The 'directs or leads' category is for individuals whose role requires them to act independently in initiating, planning and managing a research or innovation project or programme of work without supervision.

This route is administered by the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering and Royal Society.

Recruitment Criteria

For an academic appointment to be eligible for this route you would need to ensure that: 

  • the job was advertised and an open competition was held, or where it was not, an explanation as to why;
  • the applicant has accepted the job offer;
  • the job title and department in which the applicant will be based;
  • at least 2 references were received;
  • at least 3 academic representatives from the employing institution were on the interview panel;
  • at least 1 expert in the applicant’s field was on the interview panel OR at least 1 relevant expert independent of the employing institution was consulted before the job offer was made.

Queen Mary will be able to provide a statement of guarantee from the Director of Human Resources stating that this is the recruitment process that was followed.  Requests for a Statement of Guarantee must be arranged by the hiring department not the individual, they cannot be issued without confirmation that the eligibility criteria has been met. 

Applicants who do not meet the endorsement criteria

Please note that you will not be considered eligible for the academic and research appointments route if responsibility for ‘academic, research or innovation leadership and development’ or for ‘directing or leading an individual or team in a research or innovation project or programme of work’ is not the primary function of the role you have been offered. This will include many entry level postdoctoral research positions. 

In these circumstances, you may be eligible for one of the other Global Talent visa routes and are encouraged to look at all endorsement options before making an application.

Fast-track endorsement for individuals who have been awarded an individual fellowship on the list approved by the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering and Royal Society.


The fellowship must be held currently or within the last 5 years.

Individuals applying under this route will be hosted by the University.  Queen Mary do not need to provide any evidence to assist with application under this route, the fellowship award will be sufficient evidence. 

Fast-track endorsement for researchers and specialists whose name or job title is specified in a successful grant application from an endorsed funder approved by UKRI. 

If you are recruiting to a project that is funded by a grant from one of the endorsed funders listed the indiviudal will be able to apply for a Global Talent visa if:

  • The contract is for at least 2 years at the time of application
  • The grant award is greater than £30,000
  • The individual or their job is named on the grant

This route is not limited to researchers working on a project. The holder of any job named on the grant may apply to this route, this includes but is not limited to roles such as principal investigators, project managers, and technicians.

Temporary concession for researchers working on COVID-19 grants 

Until 31 December 2021, academics and researchers wishing to work on COVID-19 related grants can apply for a Global Talent visa under relaxed criteria. The changed criteria are:

  • Research grants must have been awarded for at least 12 months or more (not two years or more).
  • Researchers must have an employment contract or hosting agreement for 12 months or more (not two years or more).
  • Applicants who are already in the UK can switch into this route from any other visa category. 


Queen May will be able to provide a statement of guarantee to confirm that the individual is being appointed to an eligible grant.  The individual will also need to provide a copy of the grant with their application.  Any sensitive information can be redacted from the grant if necessary. Requests for a Statement of Guarantee must be arranged by the hiring department not the individual, they cannot be issued without confirmation that the eligibility criteria has been met. 

As part of the application the applicant will be required to submit a copy of the grant agreement, if you do not wish sensitive information to provided to the applicant please provide a redacted copy.  For some grants it may be possible to provide a link to an approved database to confirm the award meets the criteria.  Applicants can provide a link to the award directly, or by the Director of Human Resources.

  • CORDIS EU Research Results
  • ERC Funded project data base
  • Funding and tenders opportunity portal
  • UKRI Gateway to Research

more information is availble on the Government website

Standard endorsement for individuals who submit an application for full peer review by the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering or Royal Society.

Applicants to this route will need to establish that they are either a leader in their field (Exceptional Talent) or are a potential leader in their field (Exceptional Promise).

All applicants will be required to provide a letter of recommendation from an eminent person based in the UK. Exceptional Talent applicants they will also need a letter from the Principal confirming their appointment, this letter will be arranged by HR. 

The Peer Review route is the most involved, candidates will have to demonstrate how they are exceptional in their field.

Student and Tier 4 Visaholders

It is possible for those on Student or Tier 4 visas to switch to a Global Talent visa. However, if in the last 12 months the student has received an award from a Government or international scholarship agency covering both fees and living costs for study in the UK, they must provide written consent to the application  from that Government or agency.

Requesting a Statement of Guarantee from HR

If your new hire meets the criteria for the Academic and Research appointments or Endorsed Funder routes they will require a statement of guarantee.

This will be provided by HR but we will need the below request form to be completed for the relevant route.


Academic Appointment Statement of Guarantee Request Form [DOC 67KB]

Endorsed Funders Statement of Guarantee Request Form [DOC 66KB]      

The Statement of Guarantee request form must be completed by the hiring department not the candidate. 

Find Out More

Further information about the Global Talent Visa can be found on the following websites: 

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