Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) applicants must receive an endorsement from the Designated Competent Body in their field of expertise. For those applying under the ‘Science Bodies’ (the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society), this means meeting the Exceptional Promise (for potential leaders in the relevant field) or Exceptional Talent (for leaders in the relevant field) mandatory and qualifying criteria. Carter Thomas associate Nick Gore takes a closer look at this.
Exceptional Promise and Exceptional Talent – who needs to meet the qualifying criteria requirement?
The main requirements are set out in Appendix L of the Immigration Rules (HC 395, as amended).
One potentially complicated issue for those making an application under the Exceptional Promise route is that the Immigration Rules indicate that such applicants do not need to meet the qualifying criteria. Under paragraph 1(c) of Appendix L, Exceptional Talent applicants must satisfy ‘at least one of the qualifying criteria’. This provision does not apply for paragraphs relating to Exceptional Promise applicants.
However, the relevant Home Office Guidance confirms that those applying under the Exceptional Promise route do need to meet the qualifying criteria. It states that Exceptional Promise applicants must provide ‘evidence in relation to at least one of the qualifying criteria’. This is also included in the Designated Competent Bodies’ own Guidance.
We therefore strongly recommend that Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) applicants applying under the Science Bodies in either category do meet at least one of the qualifying criteria.
What are the qualifying criteria?
Applicants must meet one or more of the following requirements:
- be a member of their national academy or a foreign member of academies of other countries (in particular, any of the UK national academies);
- have been awarded a prestigious internationally recognised prize;
- provide a written, dated, recommendation from a reputable UK organisation concerned with research in the applicant’s field. The dated letter must be written by an authorised senior member of the organisation, such as a Chief Executive, Vice-Chancellor or similar, on official paper.
We recommend that, if possible, applicants should try and meet more than one of the above. Although applicants are only required to meet one of the qualifying criteria, meeting more than one creates a stronger application. Often the least complex criteria to meet is demonstrating that the applicant is a member of a national academy.
When is a prize a ‘prestigious internationally recognised’ prize?
Applicants can sometimes struggle with whether or not a prize they have received will meet the requirement to be a ‘prestigious internationally recognised’ one. There are no examples provided in the Guidance of such prizes and applicants should consider providing background information regarding the prestige of the prize, the selection criteria and the standing of the judges, in addition to evidence demonstrating they have won the prize. In some cases there may be a question as to what counts as a prize, for instance, being awarded a fellowship (a mandatory criteria applicants must meet) can be considered a prize in itself.
Letters of recommendation
As part of the mandatory criteria, applicants must provide one ‘letter of personal recommendation from an eminent person resident in the UK’. This letter should be separate from the written recommendation from a reputable UK organisation, as one is from a person and the other is from, or on behalf of, a UK organisation.
A recommendation from a reputable UK organisation can not only meet the qualifying criteria but also provide the opportunity to further highlight the applicant’s strengths. The author of the letter should be different to the person who writes the personal recommendation, as this helps to demonstrate the breadth of the applicant’s experience. It should also be noted that the UK organisation must be ‘concerned with research in the applicant’s field.’ Background information about the organisation and how it is concerned with research in the field should be included in any recommendation.
Meeting the qualifying criteria is often more difficult for Exceptional Promise applicants as they do not have the same experience as Exceptional Talent applicants. In either case, evidence of meeting the qualifying criteria should be carefully reviewed and should highlight the applicant’s experience, strengths and expertise.
How we can help
We are experienced in preparing successful Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) endorsement and immigration applications for individuals spanning a range of industries and sectors, including digital technology and science. We currently maintain a 100% success record.
If you need further information about the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route, please contact us.