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New Skilled Immigration Routes announced in 2021 Budget

04 March 2021 Grace McGill Blog

The government has announced that it is modernising the immigration system to help the UK attract and retain the most highly skilled, globally mobile talent – particularly in academia, science, research and technology – from around the world.

Contained in the Policy decisions section of the Budget Statement is the detail :

Supporting the UK’s success stories

To do this, the government will:

  • introduce, by March 2022, an elite points-based visa. Within this visa there will be a ‘scaleup’ stream, enabling those with a job offer from a recognised UK scale-up to qualify for a fast-track visa 
  • reform the Global Talent visa, including to allow holders of international prizes and winners of scholarships and programmes for early promise to automatically qualify
  • review the Innovator visa to make it easier for those with the skills and experience to found an innovative business to obtain a visa
  • launch the new Global Business Mobility visa by spring 2022 for overseas businesses to establish a presence or transfer staff to the UK
  • provide practical support to small firms that are using the visa system for the first time
  • modernise the immigration sponsorship system to make it easier to use. The government will publish a delivery roadmap in the summer
  • establish a global outreach strategy by expanding the Global Entrepreneur Programme, marketing the UK’s visa offering and explore building an overseas talent network

Elite Points based Visa :

The ‘Elite’ visa will include a ‘scale-up’ stream, enabling highly skilled migrants with a job offer from a recognised high-growth business to qualify for a fast-track visa, without the need for sponsorship.  Whilst the details of the route have yet to be announced , it seems perhaps obvious from pre budget discussions that this is aimed at fintech firms,  especially following the Kalifa Review which was strongly endorsed by the Government last week :


To create a new visa Stream to enhance access to international talent for fintech scaleups The UK should introduce a bespoke ‘Fintech Scaleup Stream’ within existing routes such as Global Talent, and by enhancing existing routes, within the UK’s 2021 immigration architecture:

  1. A ‘Fintech Scaleup Stream’ within the Global Talent (or proposed Unsponsored) route will support scaleup growth and allow globally mobile talent with highly sought-after skills to join high potential firms, without unnecessary burdens on the firms / individuals, or impeding creative activity. Those with a job offer at the required skills level (RQF6) from a recognised UK fintech scaleup would automatically qualify for the Fintech ScaleUp Stream under either the Global Talent, or proposed Unsponsored Route, without the need for third party endorsement.
  2. Across the immigration system, (building for example on the former Inward Investment role offering in the Skilled Worker Route), the UK should actively seek to attract job creators, by introducing enhancements and ‘reach out’ strategies to support fintech scaleup growth. In practice, this would mean:
  • A deliberate government strategy to market this bespoke visa offering and attract fintech talent to the UK, focusing in particular on talent hotspots.
  • Support for fintech firms to engage with the immigration system.
  • A more progressive approach to payment options for fees and charges (such as the Immigration Skills Charge), mindful of the impact on small and high growth firms, in particular.
  • A strategy for ongoing engagement with the fintech sector to understand the needs of the sector and the gaps in current policy.
  • Practical enhancements to the Skilled Worker Route including the prioritised roll out of end-to-end online processing to non-EU nationals, which will bring processing times below 72 hours in most cases; the ability to move roles under the same employer without requiring a fresh immigration application; the ability to start employment with a new employer on the issue of Certificate of Sponsorship, rather than the later grant of application for in country applicants.

Global Talent Visa : 

A review of the Global Talent Visa to allow holders of international prizes and winners of scholarships and programmes for early promise to automatically qualify.

Global Business Mobility Visa :

The government has also indicated that it will launch a new ‘Global Business Mobility’ visa by Spring 2022.  This visa route will be for overseas businesses that wish to establish a presence in, or transfer staff to, the UK which appears to be polished version of the Sole Representative Visa

All these proposals will be addressed in further changes to the Rules to follow.


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