International fashion talent can now apply for the UK’s Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa, open to those outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland. The British Fashion Council has been working with the Arts Council for England, the Home Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in the UK to secure the new arrangement.
The number of visa doubled last year to 2,000 selected applicants across “science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology or the arts.” This has now been extended to include fashion designers with their own brand or looking for top creative jobs at the UK’s luxury fashion houses. This will be beneficial in securing a better visa deal for top-level talent and making UK luxury fashion brands a more appealing option for design stars.
Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council, said: “The British Fashion Council were thrilled to work with the Arts Council and the DCMS to extend the opportunity for talented individuals to secure Tier 1 visas, allowing them to continue to work as fashion designers in the UK and contribute to our growing industry. This is a great example of positive change to support the creative industries to improve access to the best international talent.”
The move signals a significant step for fashion in being recognised by the government as a valiable cultural and economic industry. The industry currently brings £29 billion into the UK economy each year.
Margot James, Minister of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said of the announcement, "The UK is a global fashion capital and home to world-renowned brands such as Burberry, Alexander McQueen and Ozwald Boateng. Our innovative designers and fashion houses not only showcase the nation's creative zeal but are also are a vital part of the economy. We are determined to do all we can to support this hugely successful sector.”
Fashion show at GREAT Festival of Innovation, March 2018 / Image: GREAT Festival of Innovation