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Since free movement with the EU ended in December, the UK has introduced a new points-based immigration. As part of this Global Talent visas are available to those who’ve made exceptional contributions in a number of fields.
These include music, film, television, art, engineering, science and medicine.
Sky News reports from October this will be available to professional athletes, streamlining the process of them moving to the UK.
Currently they must apply for either a temporary worker or skilled worker visa.
Both require completing a number of documents, and attending an immigration appointment.
Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo recently signed for Manchester United (Image: GETTY)
There had been concerns the end of free movement would hit British football (Image: GETTY)
Under the new system sports stars will simply need the backing of a sports governing body, and a sponsorship certificate from a recognised club, to apply for a Global Talent visa.
Announcing the move Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “We want to attract the world’s greatest minds at the crowning point of their careers, so the UK remains number one on the global leader board in sports, the arts, science, film and technology sectors.
“Through our points-based system we focus on talent and skills, not where someone comes from, and the immigration changes will make it much easier for the brightest and best to live and work in the UK.”
Global Talent visas first became available in February 2020, with the Government aiming to “attract the world’s top scientists, researchers and mathematicians”.
Ronaldo is one of the biggest superstars in sport (Image: GETTY)
In a bid to obtain “top talent” there are no limits to the number who can come to Britain under the scheme.
Defending the measure last year Boris Johnson said: “The UK has a proud history of scientific discovery, but to lead the field and face the challenges of the future we need to continue to invest in talent and cutting edge research.
“That is why as we leave the EU I want to send a message that the UK is open to the most talented minds in the world, and stand ready to support them to turn their ideas into reality.”
Those eligible for Global Talent visas include Oscar, Bafta, Mobo and Brit Award winners.
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“I want to send a message that the UK is open to the most talented minds in the world” (Image: GETTY)
Britain formally left the EU in January 2020 (Image: GETTY)
For science and technology Nobel Prize, Turing Award and Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering winners can use the scheme.
Professor Sir Mark Walport, chief executive of UK Research and Innovation, celebrated the new visas when they came into effect last year.
He commented: “Working with the government, UK Research and Innovation is ensuring that the UK remains a globally leading environment for research and innovation.
“Our ambition is clear: to create a stronger research and innovation environment that is focused on supporting talented people and realising the full potential of their work.”
The Daily Express campaigned passionately for Brexit (Image: EXPRESS )
Professor Julia Buckingham, President of Universities UK, added: “We share the Prime Minister’s vision to position the UK as a magnet for global science and research talent.
“The Global Talent visa is a positive step towards this for UK universities.
“The visa route will help to ensure that universities can attract the brightest scientists and researchers to the UK with minimal barriers.
The Premier League is one of the biggest sports leagues in the world (Image: GETTY)
“Universities are globally connected and this announcement signals that the UK remains open to talent from around the world.”
There had been fears Brexit, and the end of free movement, could make it harder for European football stars to work in the UK.
Extending the Global Talent visas to sports players is aimed at addressing this problem.