Winners of prestigious global awards including the Oscars, Grammys, BAFTAs and Golden Globes are among the categories of people who are now fast-tracked for U.K. visas.
The U.K. Home Office revealed on Wednesday that people who have won any of these awards will be able to skip the endorsements previously required as part of the Global Talent visa category — available to anyone in the fields of academia or research, arts and culture or digital technology — from Wednesday, May 5.
Until now, those trying to enter the U.K. via the Global Talent route had to successfully apply to one of six endorsing bodies. The new fast track route allows applicants who hold a qualifying prize to fast track the endorsement application and instead make a single visa application.
Qualifying prizes include best actress, actor, cinematography, directing and writing winners at the Academy Awards; actor, actress and director at the BAFTAs; actor, actress and director across the various Golden Globe categories, in addition to the Carol Burnett Award and the Cecil B. deMille Award.
In music, winners of the international female and male at the Brit Awards; lifetime achievement award at the Grammys; and best international act at the MOBOs also qualify.
In theater, winners of several categories of the Olivier and Tony awards are also eligible. Other prestigious prizes in the category include winners of Nobel Prizes, and the Turing Award.
The government has worked with the endorsing bodies to draft the initial list of qualifying prizes, which will be kept under review. It’s notable, for instance, that prominent international prize winners, such as the winners of the international feature film Oscar, whose countries of origin are more diverse, aren’t included among the qualifying prize winners.
The U.K. government is famously protectionist, but increasingly open to non-European trade post Brexit.
“Winners of these awards have reached the pinnacle of their career and they have so much to offer the U.K. These important changes will give them the freedom to come and work in our world leading arts, sciences, music, and film industries as we build back better,” said U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel.
“This is exactly what our new point-based immigration system was designed for — attracting the best and brightest based on the skills and talent they have, not where they’ve come from,” Patel added.
On Tuesday, the U.K. signed an agreement with India, allowing up to 3000 18-30-year-olds to work and live in each other’s country for up to two years. The U.K. is a favored location for Indian film shoots, with up to 80 films shooting in the country in pre-pandemic years. During the pandemic, two Bollywood films, Akshay Kumar’s “Bellbottom,” and Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s “Sangeen,” shot entirely in the U.K.
Manori Ravindran contributed to this report.