'Exceptional talent' visa route opened up to fashion designers

An immigration route for highly-skilled individuals to is to be widened to include fashion designers, the Government has announced.

Tier 1 "exceptional talent" visas are awarded to leading figures in science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology or the arts.

Applicants must be from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland and demonstrate that they have made or have the potential to make a significant contribution as a leader in their field.

In a broadening of its scope, the scheme will now be open to leading fashion designers.

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They will have their application assessed by the British Fashion Council under the endorsement remit of Arts Council England, which is one of five existing endorsing bodies, the Home Office said.

The department added that the route is also being opened up to a wider pool of TV and film applicants.

A total of 2,000 Tier 1 "exceptional talent" visas are available per year.

Other steps announced on Friday include:

- The creation of a new form of leave for children who arrived under the Dubs amendment to ensure those who do not qualify for refugee status or humanitarian protection can still remain in the UK long term;

- The addition of 11 countries, including China, to a list of nations from which overseas students will be able to benefit from a streamlined application process;

- A new settlement category for Turkish business people, workers and their families who are in the UK under the EU-Turkey European Communities Association Agreement (ECAA);

- Allowing holders of an electronic visa waiver to present the document in a digital format for the first time.

Ministers also confirmed previously announced measures to remove doctors and nurses from the Tier 2 visa cap, and to make clear that Afghan interpreters and their families who have relocated to the UK can apply, free of charge, for permanent residence.

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes (Victoria Jones/PA)
Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes (Victoria Jones/PA)

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said: "Today's changes show that we are able to adapt to meet the demands of our frontline services and ensure we are able to attract people who can bring real benefits to our creative industries.

"At the same time we are confirming our commitment to those children in need with our ongoing support while demonstrating our recognition for people who have risked their lives by serving with our armed forces."