Bridget Jones is on a list of international celebrities granted VIP status under the government’s new points-based immigration system. V good, she would write in her diary.
Renee Zellweger, the Texan actress who played the 30-something singleton who cooked blue soup, wore enormous pants and drank and smoked too much, tops the list.
She is included on a new “Global Talent” visa route as an Oscar winner, along with Legally Blonde star Reese Witherspoon and Susan Sarandon, best known for the smash hit Thelma And Louise.
Top screen actors on the list include Oscar winners Leonardo Di Caprio, star of Titanic and The Wolf of Wall Street and Joker star Joaquin Phoenix as well as Golden Globe winner Bill Murray, star of hits Groundhog Day and Ghostbusters.
Musicians include Brit Awards winners such as husband and wife Beyonce and Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, who performed at President Biden’s inauguration, Barbadian singer Rihanna, American rapper Eminem, singer and actress Ariana Grande and Jamaican-American reggae star Shaggy.
“Winners of these awards have reached the pinnacle of their career and they have so much to offer the UK,” said Home Secretary Priti Patel, announcing the VIP fast-track move.
“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.
“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.”
Those who will qualify are winners of Nobel Prizes, the Turing Award, Oscars and Golden Globes, who will be able to live and work in the UK more easily under reforms being introduced by the Home Office.
Individuals who have won prestigious awards from across the sciences, humanities, engineering, the arts and digital technology will be able to take advantage of changes to the Global Talent visa route.
The Home Office said that people currently on the Global Talent route – which came into force in February 2020 and has been used by thousands of people to enter the UK – have to apply successfully to one of six endorsing bodies.
The new route will allow applicants who hold a qualifying prize to fast track the endorsement application and instead make a single visa application.
The eligible prize winners include:
• Science, technology, engineering and maths: Nobel Prize winners in physics, chemistry, economic science and medicine; Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering; Fields Medal; Turing Award
• Music: Brit Award – International Male/Female; Mobo – Best International Act; Grammys – Lifetime Achievement Award
• Film, TV and theatre: Various Academy Award and Golden Globe categories; Bafta – Best Film Actress/Actor/Director; various Tony Awards and Olivier Awards
• Arts and literature: Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize; Hugo Boss Prize; Nobel Prize for literature
The Home Office said winners of certain awards across dance, fashion, architecture, and social sciences will also be included.
The government also said it has worked with the endorsing bodies to draft the initial list of qualifying prizes, which will be kept under review.
The full list of the qualifying awards is:
• Science: Nobel Prize – Physics; Nobel Prize – Chemistry; Nobel Prize – Medicine; Fyssen International Prize
• Engineering: Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering; Millennium Technology Prize; Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering
• Social Science: Nobel Prize – Economic Science; Holberg Prize; Balzan Prize
• Mathematics: Fields Medal
• Computing: Turing Award; ACM Prize in Computing
• Literature: Nobel Prize – Literature
• Arts: Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize; Hugo Boss Prize
• Fashion: Fashion Award – Designer of the Year; Fashion Award – Accessories Designer of the Year; Fashion Award – Outstanding Achievement
• Architecture: Royal Gold Medal; Pritzker Prize
• Dance: Bessie – Outstanding Performer; Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards – Best Male; Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards -Best Female
• TV and Film: Academy Awards – Actor in a leading role; Academy Awards – Actress in a leading role; Academy Awards – Cinematography; Academy Awards – Directing; Academy Awards – Writing (adapted screenplay); Academy Awards – Writing (original screenplay); BAFTA – Best Film Actor; BAFTA – Best Film Actress; BAFTA – Film Director; Golden Globes – Best Actor in a Motion Picture; Golden Globes – Best Actress in a Motion Picture; Golden Globes – Best Actress Musical/Comedy; Golden Globes – Best Actor Musical/Comedy; Golden Globes – Best Actor in a TV Motion Picture; Golden Globes – Best Actress in a TV Motion Picture; Golden Globes – Best TV Actor Drama; Golden Globes – Best TV Actress Drama; Golden Globes – Best TV Actor Musical/Comedy; Golden Globes – Best TV Actress Musical/Comedy; Golden Globes – Best Director of a Motion Picture; Golden Globes – Best Screenplay of a Motion Picture; Golden Globes – Cecil B. deMille Award; Golden Globes – Carol Burnett Award
• Theatre: Tony Award – Best Play Author; Tony Award- Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play; Tony Award – Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play; Tony Award- Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role In A Musical; Tony Award- Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical; Tony Award- Best Direction of a Play; Tony Award – Best Direction of a Musical; Tony Award Best Choreography; Tony Award- Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre; Olivier Awards – Best Play Author; Olivier Awards – Best Actor; Olivier Awards – Best Actress; Olivier Awards – Outstanding Achievement in Dance; Olivier Awards – Best Director; Olivier Awards – Outstanding achievement in opera; Olivier Awards – Outstanding achievement in music; Olivier Awards – Best Theatre Choreographer
• Music: Brit Awards – International Female; Brit Awards – International Male; Wihuri Sibelius Prize; ICMA – Lifetime achievement award; ICMA – Artist of the year; MOBO – Best International Act; WOMEX – Artist; Grammys- Lifetime Achievement Award