The Home Office will launch a new fast-track immigration scheme for selected individuals who have skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM subjects).

This will act as an extension of the already existing Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa route.

The fast-track immigration route will be designed to attract elite researchers and specialists in science, engineering and technology, from maths Olympiads at the very start of their careers to the winners of internationally recognised prizes and fellowships.

Elements of the visa:

The new scheme will provide eligible individuals with a three-year visa, during which they can come and go from the UK as they please.

When the three years is up, those on the scheme would be able apply for indefinite leave to remain (giving a permanent right to reside in the UK and access to benefits and healthcare on the same basis as British citizens).

There will be no minimum salary requirement and individuals do not need to secure a job before arriving in the UK (unlike the existing Tier 2 route for skilled workers).

The Home Office have specifically said that they do not intend to bring in a minimum wage threshold for this type of visa in the future.

Individuals will be able to bring dependants (spouses/partners and children), with adult dependants having full access to the labour market.


Seeing as this visa is an extension of the Tier 1 Exceptional talent route, the application requirements of the two options are likely to be very similar. Applicants will need to be endorsed by selected bodies within their respective fields.

At the moment the wait time is around 3 months between getting the endorsement and travelling to the UK should your visa application be approved.

Some key changes will be made to the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa route – in order to attract STEM subject professionals:

  • abolishing the cap on numbers under the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visas (currently limited to 2,000 individuals per year)
  • expanding the pool of UK research institutes and universities able to endorse candidates
  • creating criteria that confer automatic endorsement, subject to immigration checks
  • ensuring dependants have full access to the labour market
  • removing the need to hold an offer of employment before arriving
  • accelerated path to settlement
  • increased funds directed to the STEM professions
  • removing the requirement for those endorsed as Exceptional Promise to have been awarded a prestigious Research Fellowship
  • opening up the route to those who have received European research funding

Will the new scheme be open to both EU and non-EU nationals?

Yes, this will be a global offer. However, for the moment, EU citizens will continue benefit from free movement.

It also appears that this scheme will be ongoing, but will be subject to frequent reviews by the Home Office to ensure it is working to the benefit of the UK.

Will the Home Office bring this forward with or without a deal?

Yes, the route will be launched regardless of the terms of the UK leaving the EU.

Why the sudden desire for STEM subject professionals?


Boris Johnson has said:

“Britain has a proud history of innovation, with home-grown inventions spanning from the humble bicycle to the lightbulb.

We were home to the world’s first national DNA database, we discovered graphene, and our cutting-edge scientists should be proud to follow in the footsteps of titans like Ada Lovelace and Nobel Laureates Francis Crick and Peter Higgs.

But to ensure we continue to lead the way in the advancement of knowledge, we have to not only support the talent that we already have here, but also ensure our immigration system attracts the very best minds from around the world.”

So, this is looking rather exciting for all those in STEM subject professions. We will keep you right up to date with how this progresses and let you know of any further changes that are made to any visa types.

In the mean time you can contact us on 020 7928 0276 or email in to

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