Skip to main content

Together we are beating cancer

Donate now
  • For Researchers

How the Global Talent Visa can help attract the best and brightest

The Cancer Research UK logo
by Cancer Research UK | Analysis

31 January 2024

1 comment 1 comment


We know our researchers and institutes have real concerns over recent changes in Government policy on visa routes to the UK. Here, Sue Russell, Senior Policy and Governance Manager, takes us through the Global Talent Visa and tells us why this is a useful route for researchers to use…

The Global Talent Visa (GTV) is the Government’s specialist route for researchers in science, medicine, engineering, humanities and social science.

One of the advantages of the GTV for CRUK-funded researchers is you can be fast-tracked on two of the application routes – Route 2: Individual Fellowships and Route 3: UKRI endorsed funders route.

The latter endorsed funders route of the GTV is overseen by the UKRI – they aim to ensure suitable applicants are quickly assessed by those qualified to assess scientific attainment, rather than by immigration officials. They do this with the support of endorsed funders and research organisations.

If you’re one of our researchers and you are worried about potential changes to the salary threshold for the Skilled Worker visa, please  be reassured you’re still eligible for, or can switch to, the GTV – this has no salary threshold.

The GTV allows you to live and work in the UK for up to 5 years at a time and is accessible to a range of researchers including:

  • Postdocs
  • Technicians
  • Specialists on grants
  • Staff based at one of CRUK’s core-funded Institutes
  • Individual fellowship holders.

The GTV isn’t tied to a particular contract or employer, so you can change roles. You can also travel abroad and return to the UK, giving you more freedom to travel. Another benefit is that it enables you to apply to settle permanently in the UK if you’ve lived here for 3 years – sooner than other visa requirements. It also incurs lower application fees if you apply for more than 3 years and will mean you don’t have to meet language requirements.

Is the Global Talent Visa only for senior researchers?

While it might sound like ‘global talent’ only means senior researchers are eligible; the GTV is accessible across career stages.

If you’re a CRUK-funded postdoctoral researcher, technician, specialist or Fellow you could be eligible for the GTV, it’s just you have to apply via different application routes.

What are the different application routes for a GTV?

There are four different routes to apply, and for each you go through a two-stage process – endorsement then visa.

UKRI lay out the four routes to getting the first-stage visa endorsement clearly on their website.

What are the different application routes for a GTV?
The four routes to get endorsement for Global Talent Visa application. (Credit UKRI)

CRUK-funded researchers typically tend to apply via Routes 2 and 3 – both fast-tracked routes – depending on whether you’ll be, or are currently, a member of staff employed on a CRUK-grant or based at one of our core-funded Institutes, or if you hold the award yourself as a CRUK Fellow (the latter use Route 2).

I’ll cover Route 3 first here as I’ve heard some misconceptions about this route.

Route 3: For members of staff employed on a CRUK-grant

CRUK is an approved UK research and innovation funder on Route 3, so  your application can be fast tracked.

Fast track endorsement under route 3 is available for staff employed on a CRUK grant or those based at a core-funded CRUK Institute.

Your host institution must also be on the list of employing or hosting institutions approved by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) for Global Talent. Most of the institutions CRUK typically funds are on this list, and our core-funded Institutes are also covered.

To be eligible, you’ll also need to:

For endorsement, you’ll need to submit:

  • your Grant Award Letter (GAL),
  • a statement of guarantee from the organisation that is employing or hosting you.

If you are funded by CRUK, you’ll only need to provide the Grant Award Letter you already have – no additional information will be needed other than the statement of guarantee from your host institution.

To date since 2020, when this application route began, all of our CRUK associated applications via the UKRI endorsed funder route have been endorsed, with none rejected.

For the second application stage, you’ll then apply via the Global Talent Visa via the Government website.

Route 2: For CRUK Fellows

Most of our Fellows are eligible for the fast-track option under Route 2: individual fellowship, either under ‘Exceptional talent’ or ‘Exceptional promise’.

If you hold one of our CRUK fellowship awards approved by the Royal Society you’re guaranteed an endorsement of your Global Talent visa application.

CRUK’s approved fellowship funding schemes are:

‘Exceptional talent’:

  • Programme Foundation Award
  • Senior Cancer Research Fellowship

‘Exceptional promise’:

  • Advanced Clinician Scientist Fellowship
  • Career Development Fellowship
  • Career Establishment Award
  • Clinician Scientist Fellowship
  • Clinical Trial Fellowship Award
  • Population Research Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Postdoctoral Research Bursary for Clinical Trainees

To apply for Route 2 endorsement, you’ll need a copy of your fellowship Grant Award Letter and you can  apply directly on the Government website.

You can apply for the Global Talent visa at the same time as you apply for endorsement, or after you have the endorsement confirmed.

If you are already in the UK, you may also be able to switch to the GTV from other visas.

What are the differences between the Global Talent Visa and the Skilled Worker visa?

Based on publicly available information as of 31 January 2024, which may be subject to change at any time. You should only treat this as guidance; and it does not constitute immigration advice:


Global Talent Skilled Worker
Who is the visa for? Specialist route across career stages for you to come to the UK as researcher (e.g. postdocs, technicians, specialists, Fellows) Allows you to come to the UK to take an eligible job with an approved employer
Is there set salary requirement? No Yes (as of Jan 2024: £26,200; Government due to increase to £38,700)
Can I settle in UK? May be eligible to settle after 3 years May be eligible to settle after 5 years
Do I need to stay in same job? No Yes. Job required to be on eligible occupations list; you must work at sponsoring organisation.
Do I need employer  sponsorship? No – you need endorsement from a GTV endorsing body Yes, you must be sponsored by a licensed organisation
How much does the visa cost
(£ per person, not including Immigration Health Surcharge)?
£716 Up to 3 years: £719

More than 3 years: £1,420

Do I need to have additional funds available? No Yes, you’ll need a certain level of funding in bank account unless employer agrees to cover this.
Do I need to prove I speak English? No Yes, assessment required
Will CRUK cover visa costs in response-mode grants? Yes for GTV fees and Immigration Health Surcharge costs, but not for partners/dependents No

What visa costs does CRUK cover?

If you’re a member of staff employed on a CRUK response-mode grant or a CRUK Fellow, you can use your CRUK award to cover the costs of the GTV application fees and GTV-associated immigration health surcharge costs. We don’t provide costs for partners or dependents or cover costs for other types of visas – there are further details on our Costs Guidance page.

If you’re based at one of our core-funded CRUK Institutes, your Institute will have its own policy for covering visa costs. Please contact your Institute directly for further advice.

We need you!

We really want to hear about the challenges you face so that we can be best placed to help shape the development of visa routes for the cancer research community. We know there are complexities in the different visa routes – high upfront costs to individuals and Immigration Health Surcharge costs for example – but we’re keen to hear more potential barriers.

Our Head of Research Careers, Dr Matt Kaiser is a member of UKRI’s Global Talent Visa External Advisory Board (EAB), so the more information he has, the better he can advise on how  to address barriers for international researchers.

We recently published our policy position paper calling for Government to do more to attract international researchers, in particular in relation to recent visa issues.

We’ll continue to work with UKRI and others to promote awareness of the GTV to make it as accessible as possible for our researchers. We’ll also continue to investigate the impact of recent visa changes on our research community and to share these insights to increase Government awareness of the consequences for research.

Find out more about the Global Talent Visa


Royal Society

Look out for UKRI-run Visa Best Practice Workshops this year to increase individual and organisational-level confidence and efficiency in recruiting international applicants:

  • London – Monday 4th March
  • Belfast – Wednesday 13th March
  • Cambridge – Wednesday 17th April 2024

Registration is essential. Contact [email protected] to register.

We’re keen to hear from researchers and their institutions about your experience or barriers accessing the Global Talent Visa and how we can help resolve these.

Get in touch at [email protected]

Sue Russell


Sue Russell

Sue is Senior Policy & Governance Manager, Research & Innovation at Cancer Research UK


  • Sophie Cliff
    1 February 2024

    I’m enjoy Happy work 😍👍

Tell us what you think

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read our comment policy.


  • Sophie Cliff
    1 February 2024

    I’m enjoy Happy work 😍👍

Tell us what you think

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read our comment policy.