Mar 03 2021

Budget Report for 2021 Released; Focus on Attracting Highly-Skilled Talent

United Kingdom

At a Glance

  • There are several proposals for the United Kingdom's immigration regime in the 2021 Budget Report, including:
    • The creation of a scale-up visa subcategory;
    • Reformation of the Global Talent visa category;
    • Revision of the Innovator visa category;
    • Launch of the new Global Business Mobility Visa; and
    • Provision of support to small businesses using the visa system.
  • These proposals would likely reduce the administrative burden on both employers and applicants by increasing efficiencies for users of the immigration system. However, details on most of the proposals have not been released, and ultimately each proposal would require changes to the Immigration Rules to become effective.

The situation

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced several proposed plans for the United Kingdom’s immigration regime in the 2021 Budget Report.

A closer look

The below table describes some of the specific proposals for the immigration system listed in the Budget Report:

Proposed Plans IMPACT 
  • Scale-up visa subcategory. By March 2022, introduce an elite points-based visa which will have a “scale-up” stream allowing those with a job offer from a recognized UK scale-up (which is a later stage of a start-up) to qualify for a fast-track visa. 

The visa would give foreign nationals an opportunity to live and work in the United Kingdom without needing an employer or family member’s sponsorship.

This visa route is aimed at bringing highly-skilled workers to the United Kingdom in the growing financial technology sector.

  • Reformed Global Talent visa category. This category would allow holders of international prizes and winners of scholarships and programs for early promise (those who are expected to become leaders in the field) to automatically qualify for the Global Talent visa.

This route allows those who are already highly-accomplished in their fields a simple pathway to immigrate to the United Kingdom. Currently, these foreign nationals are not automatically eligible for a Global Talent visa and must also be endorsed by a registered organization.

  • Revised Innovator visa category. The revisions would make it easier to obtain a visa for those with qualifying skills and experience to create an innovative business.

The current requirement to have an endorsement from a registered organization for this category may be removed under the proposals.

Attracting innovators to the United Kingdom is likely to create jobs and to promote additional investment in the country.

  • Launch of new Global Business Mobility Visa. This visa is expected to be launched in Q2 2022 and would allow foreign businesses to establish a presence or transfer employees to the United Kingdom. 
This is likely to be a re-design of the existing Representative of an Overseas Business route which is currently in place. Currently the route allows for a single business representative to come to the United Kingdom.
  • Increased support. The government would offer more process support for the visa system for small businesses. Additional details on the type of support that the government will provide are expected at a later date.
With an increasing number of companies using the system to sponsor EU talent following the end of free movement and the Brexit transition period, the government recognizes that additional support to navigate the process may be beneficial for smaller companies.



The 2021 Budget Report reflects the challenges of the UK government after the economic trials of the COVID-19 pandemic and the end of the Brexit transition period. The UK government believes that an investment-led recovery, which includes attracting highly-skilled immigrants in areas such as academia, science, research and technology, will allow the country and its economy to flourish in a post-COVID-19 world.

Looking ahead

Any changes to the immigration system would be implemented via a statement of changes to the Immigration Rules. While details on most of the proposals have yet to be released, the proposals are likely to reduce the administrative burden on both employers and applicants, increasing efficiencies for users of the immigration system.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].