Around the world, countries are competing against one another to attract talent to boost their economies. The need for labor is high, especially in fast-growing industries. In the last decade, many First World nations have launched immigration programs to attract the very best by offering global talent visas. These visa types reward successful applicants with residency status, which grants the ability to legally work and live in another country.
Global Talent Visas: an expedited path to residency
These visas, which are primarily offered by Western countries, provide an expedited path to residency to people with strong professional backgrounds and, oftentimes, a job offer in the country. These visas are the new norm when it comes to relocating, and they account for significant amounts of immigration in most countries. A global talent visa differentiates itself from another type, the skilled worker visa, by providing residency status without the need of a job offer. In some cases, they offer permanent residency in the country simply based on the professional profile of the candidate, regardless of whether he or she has a job offer. Once in the country, the professional can take employment, start a company or live off investments.
Global talent visas are the best path for highly skilled Americans to gain residency in countries that offer them. Particularly, talented U.S. tech workers are perfect candidates for global talent visas. Unlike other visa types, there is no requirement to make a significant investment, such as buying a home or giving a big government donation. Furthermore, the processing time is often faster than other visa programs.
Successful applicants of global talent visas will demonstrate that they have experience within the eligible occupation lists. Those occupations are often in the tech fields, including software and even agricultural. For now, three English-speaking countries offer a global talent visa: Australia, Canada and the U.K. In these three countries, you will be able to qualify for citizenship in about five years.
Australia is one of the most desirable places to live and work in the world. The salaries are high, the quality of life excellent and the weather warm all year long. Australia has been one of the best, if not the best, performing economies of the developed world in the last decade. Even with its relatively remote location — it’s not called the Land Down Under for just any reason! — it attracts many talented professionals.
Australia’s global talent visa is officially called the Global Talent Independent (GTI) Program. It provides permanent residency, something even multimillion-dollar investors to Australia have to wait five years to receive. GTI program recipients, after only four years, are eligible to apply for Australian citizenship.
The benefits provided by the Australia GTI are exceptional and unmatched by any other immigration path offered by the country. The application process is also the fastest of any other immigration stream in Australia. If you are approved, you will be able to sponsor your spouse and any children under the age of 23 years old to join you.
Here are the other requirements:
- Minimum income: You’ll need to be able to have a salary of at least $153,000 a year or have completed a Ph.D. in the past three years in one of designated occupational fields
- Qualifying occupations for Ph.D. graduates: Agri-food and agtech; energy; health industries; defense; advanced manufacturing and space; circular economy; digitech; infrastructure and tourism; financial services and fintech; education
- Minimum Stay: Applicants need to live in the country for two years out of five to maintain their permanent residency status
- Application processing time: Eight months
Ontario Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Stream
Ontario, one of the provinces of Canada, benefits by having a certain degree of autonomy even though it’s part of a larger country. Each province has the authority to nominate immigrants for residency into Canada. Ontario is the most populated province. It’s home to Toronto, Canada’s largest city and its financial hub. In Toronto, over 40% of the population is foreign-born, and the city welcomes roughly 100,000 immigrants each year.
Ontario’s global talent visa is officially known as the Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Stream. It’s part of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). As long as an applicant falls under the priority occupation list, the Human Capital Priorities Stream grants permanent residency to nominees even if they don’t have a job offer in Canada. As a permanent resident you can live anywhere in Canada, but for the nomination you will need to demonstrate your intent to live in Ontario, the province that nominated you. After only three years, you are eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship.
Applicants to the OINP can sponsor their spouse and children under 19 years old.
- Minimum income: None, but you will need to get enough points at the pts-base assessment
- Qualifying occupations: For 2021, these are banking credit and other investment managers; advertising; marketing and public relations managers; other business services managers; corporate sales managers; financial and investment analysts; human resources professionals; professional occupations in business management consulting; registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses; business development officers; marketing researchers and consultants
- Minimum stay: Two years out of five to maintain permanent resident status
- Application processing time: Four to six months
The United Kingdom consists of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In addition, there are also tax-friendly Crown dependencies such as Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. The U.K., but more specifically London, remains a global attraction for investors and talent worldwide. The city’s global connectivity is still unmatched by other world city, even after Brexit.
Under the U.K. Global Talent Visa, you will receive a five-year temporary resident permit that can be converted to permanent residency after only three years. British citizenship is accessible after five years, including only one year of permanent residency. This means you could be eligible for naturalization after only five years in the U.K.
To qualify for the U.K. Global Talent Visa, you need to receive an endorsement from an authorized body about your professional background in one of the eligible fields. It’s not limited to technical experience. Investors with a track record in those fields are also eligible. Once approved, you don’t need to accept any employment; you just need to be able to generate enough income to meet the threshold set for renewal or permanent residency. The U.K. Global Talent Visa also has no language requirements, and you can sponsor your child and minor children for residency in the U.K.
- Minimum income: None
- Qualifying occupations: Science; medicine; engineering; humanities; combined arts; dance; literature; music; theatre or visual arts; architecture; fashion design; film and television (including animation); post-production and visual effects; financial technology (fintech); gaming; cybersecurity; artificial intelligence
- Minimum stay: None, but to qualify for permanent residency you need to be present most of the year
- Processing time: Four to six weeks
The UAE is a Middle Eastern country comprised of smaller Emirates along the coast of the peninsula. The two most famous areas, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, have become the region’s hub for everything from finance and engineering to travel and technology. The UAE is one of the most tax-friendly jurisdictions in the world and is home to many corporate offices. Dubai residents are primarily expats living and working in the city. A sizeable share of them are Western expats looking for the benefits of tax-free high wages and a great lifestyle.
Since 2018, the UAE has launched a series of policies aimed at retaining and attracting talent to its shores. The Emirates now offer a five-year renewable resident permit to talented individuals in a multitude of fields. It evens offers the offering to top high school graduates. In many cases, you will need to get accreditation of your status from the relevant UAE ministry.
If approved, you will be able to sponsor your spouse, minor sons and unmarried daughters of any age. Adult children can apply for a student visa. There is currently not an easy path to UAE citizenship in place. Nevertheless, the country is slowly opening its naturalization process and has started granting citizenship to some leading academics and scientists.
- Minimum income: None
- Qualifying occupations: Outstanding high school and university students; executives and owners of leading companies; coders; tech-related engineers; doctors and scientists; academics; inventors; creative artists
- Minimum stay: Not being outside the UAE for more than six consecutive months
- Application processing time: Two to three weeks