New ‘exceptional talent’ visa announced for architects

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RIBA and the Home Office have announced that from 10 January 2019, the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent and Exceptional Promise) visa will be available to applicants from architecture

RIBA will play a key role in assessing the exceptional talent applications made under the scheme.

This announcement follows a year of work with partners in government to secure a new route for highly-skilled architects to come to the UK – a significant opportunity for the UK to attract the best and brightest international talent in architecture.

This architect visa is designed for those who have been endorsed in their field as a recognised leader (exceptional talent) or an emerging leader (exceptional promise), with evidence of either a developing or an established track record of producing work of outstanding quality.

It offers these exceptional talents the freedom to come to the UK to work, run their own business or be self-employed with fewer conditions than a normal work visa. The Tier 1 visa has helped encourage world-leading talents in diverse fields – from the arts to science and technology – to base themselves in the UK and has seen those sectors benefit greatly from their contribution.

International talent has been vital to making the UK a world-renowned hub for architectural excellence – more than one in five architects working in Britain today was born elsewhere in the world. Of the 30 projects shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize over the last five years, two in five project lead architects were from outside the UK.

RIBA Chief executive Alan Vallance said: “This is a significant recognition of the UK’s place as a global hub for architectural excellence.

“It is critical that the architecture sector can attract international talent, and we hope that architects across the world will seriously consider looking at applying to work in the UK on this route.

“We are delighted to have worked with the UK government and Arts Council England to bring the Tier 1 visa to the architecture sector.”

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