Updates, commentary, training and advice on immigration and asylum law

Exceptional Talent route finally opens


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The Exceptional Talent route attracted a lot of attention and comment when it was announced way back in November 2010. Questions were starting to be asked about what had happened to it and whether arts and science organisations were really willing to be the determinants of who is a suitably good artist or scientist to be awarded a Willy Wonka style Golden Ticket to the UK. It isn’t hard to imagine the potential for politics and in-fighting.

Confounding the doubters, the UK Border Agency yesterday revealed that the route will open on 9 August 2011 and negotiations with the Royal Society, Arts Council England, Royal Academy of Engineering and British Academy are complete. The allocation of 1000 visas has been divided between them.

The ‘competent bodies’, as they are now known, might be thought to have something of a London, England bias, being as that is where they are all based. No allocations have been made to the Arts Councils of Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. As a resident of London, England, I’m sure I’m delighted to be prospectively surrounded by the exceptionally talented, as judged by the competent bodies, but I might be feeling a little aggrieved if I were, say, Alex Salmond.

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The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.


3 Responses

  1. With only 1000 visas per year, I doubt you will be ‘surrounded’ by exceptionally talented people. Scotland has been looking for ways to bring more migrants in for a while so maybe this is yet another argument for Salmond in favour of independence.
    Anyway, I wonder if UKBA will ever understand that a liberal migration regime makes it less likely that people will try to settle in the UK because they know they can go back and forth without impediment. So much for evidence-based policy…

  2. Have a lol at this very recent FOI reply by the UKBA I found on the web.

    “I can confirm that between March 2011 and June 2011, 98 applications have been received
    for documentation under the Regulations by the UK Border Agency’s European casework
    teams from persons applying on the sole basis of Ruiz Zambrano. As the ECJ judgment in
    Ruiz Zambrano concerns persons who have a direct right to reside under Article 20 of the
    Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and not under the Free Movement
    Directive, there is currently no provision to issue documentation under the Regulations to
    persons asserting a right to reside in accordance with the Ruiz Zambrano judgment. This
    means that no applications have been granted or refused on the basis of this judgment
    during the period in question. Instead, those who have applied for documentation under the
    Regulations have been advised that there is no provision within the Regulations at this time
    and that their application is therefore invalid.

    The UK Border Agency is currently considering its position following the Ruiz Zambrano
    judgment and whether any changes are required to the law and/or our policy as a result of

    You have also asked whether a non-EEA parent and primary carer of a minor British child
    under the ECJ’s ruling can get employment in the UK. Whilst the UK Border Agency is
    currently considering the full implications of the Ruiz Zambrano judgment, it is clear that the
    judgment enables those who acquire a right to reside on the basis of the judgement to also
    have a right to work. There is nothing currently to prevent reliance on the Ruiz Zambrano
    judgment from seeking to rely upon it when seeking employment. However, as employers
    are subjected to the civil penalties regime evidencing a right to work in the absence of
    documentation issued by the UK Border Agency may prove problematic in terms of the
    employer discharging their duty in law to ensure they only employ those who have a right to
    work in the UK.”

    1. That is quite special, I have to say. The combination of ‘nothing to prevent reliance on Zambrano to seek work’ coupled with reference to the civil penalty regime takes quite a lot of intellectual doublethink.