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Tech Nation Visa: How to Apply for New UK Visa for Tech Talents

Tech Nation Visa: How to Apply for New UK Visa for Tech Talents

When is Application Deadline?

Ongoing

Tell Me About Tech Nation Visa:

The Tech Nation Visa, officially known as the Global Talent Visa, enables the brightest and best tech talent from around the world to come and work in the UK’s digital technology sector, contributing their cutting-edge expertise, creativity and innovation to maintaining the UK’s position at the forefront of the global digital economy.

Tech Nation is the official Home Office designated endorsing body authorised to assess endorsement applications from individuals with expertise in digital technology and who want to come to the UK under the Global Talent visa. 

The Tech Nation Visa is for founders and employees with technical or business backgrounds, including all tech sub-sectors like fintech, AI, cyber, and games. The visa is valid for up to 5 years, enabling you to work, change employers, or be self-employed, without the need for further authorisation. The Tech Nation Visa can be extended to your immediate family members and after the initial visa period, you can either apply for an extension or permanent settlement in the UK. 

If you are a talented or promising individual and want to work in the UK’s digital technology sector, the Tech Nation Visa is for you. 

Which Fields are Eligible?

Examples of Technical Skills

  • DevOps / SysOps engineers
  • Principal software engineers/developers
  • Experienced data scientists/data engineers
  • Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language
  • Processing and Machine Learning experts (AI, NLP, ML)
  • Cybersecurity experts
  • Hardware engineers
  • Experienced front-end developers
  • Operating systems engineers
  • Experienced video game developers
  • Experienced UX/UI designers
  • Experienced Mobile App developers
  • Experienced back end developers leading development of, or contributing heavily to major new technologies or open-source projects (e.g. blockchain, Scala, Golang, Elasticsearch etc)
  • CTO or VP engineering experience managing teams of in-house employees at a growing digital business
  • Virtual and augmented reality developers

Examples of Business Skills

  • Experience of leading substantial VC investment over £25m GBP
  • Experience as a commercial/business lead (P&L, growth, sales and distribution strategy) in a digital business
  • Experience of expanding or growing a significant product-led digital technology business
  • Sector-specific experience e.g. payment infrastructure in FinTech / international expansion in EdTech etc.
  • Solution sales experts
  • Experienced Product Manager
  • SaaS or enterprise sales leadership for digital services
  • Solution sales skills performed for a growing B2B digital business (i.e. not big-company experience)
  • Performance marketing experts, performed in house for digital businesses
  • Experienced and senior VC or PE analysts with track records of leading investments in digital businesses
  • Experience as C Suite in a SMEs + (CEO, CMO, CIO) or head of operations for a digital business

Who can apply for Tech Nation Visa?

Tech Nation’s criteria are designed for applicants with technical and business skills in the digital technology sector. Suitable skill types are listed below. This list is not complete and provides an indication of the typical applicants assessed by Tech Nation.

  1. Technical applicants (i.e. programmers) from non-technical organisations are eligible.
  2. Non-technical applicants (i.e. business roles) from technical organisations are eligible.
  3. Non-technical applicants from non-technical organisations are generally not eligible.

Technical applicants must demonstrate proven technical expertise with the latest technologies in building, using, deploying or exploiting a technology stack and building technical infrastructure. 

Business applicants must demonstrate a proven commercial, investment, or product expertise in building digital products or leading investments in significant digital product businesses.

Eligibility Criteria:

There are two options for applicants applying for endorsement by Tech Nation: 

Leader (called ‘exceptional talent’)

Emerging leader (called ‘exceptional promise’)

Exceptional promise applicants are likely to be earlier in their career, usually with less than 5 years of experience. You must be able to prove your potential to be a leader through your skills and achievements.

Tech Nation will assess your endorsement application, establish whether your skills and achievements meet the eligibility criteria for Exceptional Talent or Exceptional Promise, and decide whether you should be endorsed for the Global Talent visa. You should note that this is not determined solely by the eligibility criteria, Tech Nation’s independent panel of assessors will determine whether, overall, they consider that the applicant should be endorsed and for which route. It is at Tech Nation’s discretion to assess each application on its own merits and make a recommendation for or against endorsement.

Applicants must either: 

Meet one mandatory and two optional “Exceptional Talent” criteria in the table below

OR

Meet one mandatory and two optional “Exceptional Promise” criteria in the table below. 

Exceptional Talent

(leader in relevant field)

An applicant evidencing EXCEPTIONAL TALENT must:

  • show that they have been recognised as a leading talent in the digital technology sector in the last 5 years.

And provide evidence of 2 of the following:

  • a proven track record for innovation as a founder or senior executive of a product-led digital technology company or as an employee working on a new digital field or concept
  • proof of recognition for work beyond the applicant’s occupation that contributes to the advancement of the field
  • they have made significant technical, commercial or entrepreneurial contributions to the field as a founder, senior executive, board member or employee of a product-led digital technology company
  • they have demonstrated exceptional ability in the field by academic contributions through research published or endorsed by an expert.

Exceptional Promise

(potential leader in relevant field)

An applicant evidencing EXCEPTIONAL PROMISE must:

  • show they have been recognised as having potential to be a leading talent in the digital technology field in the last 5 years.

And provide evidence of 2 of the following:

  • at least 1 example of innovation as a founder of a product led digital technology company or as an employee working on a new digital field or concept
  • at least 1 example of proof of recognition for work beyond the applicant’s occupation that contributes to the advancement of the field
  • at least 1 example of significant technical, commercial or entrepreneurial contributions to the field as a founder or employee of a product-led digital technology company
  • at least 1 example of exceptional ability in the field by academic contributions through research endorsed by an expert.
    And
  • Be at an early stage in their career

Fast Track

If you can provide evidence of being accepted onto a current or future programme at one of the recognised UK accelerator programmes listed below then Tech Nation will fast track your application.  Most fast track endorsement applications get a decision in 3 weeks. The Fast Track is not applicable to alumni of previous accelerator programmes. The evidence in your endorsement application should provide clear details regarding your plans in the UK outside of your involvement in the accelerator programme. 

Please note that this Fast Track does not relate to eligibility and applying for this Fast Track does not enhance the likelihood that your application will be endorsed. The Fast Track only relates to the speed of processing your application.

The following listed accelerators are currently eligible for this Fast Track (this includes any active programmes run by these accelerators throughout the UK):

  • Antler
  • Bethnal Green Ventures
  • Carbon13
  • Collider
  • Creative Destruction Lab
  • Cylon
  • Entrepreneur First
  • Founders Academy
  • Founders Factory
  • Ignite
  • SETsquared
  • Startupbootcamp
  • techstars
  • Wayra

How to Apply for Tech Nation Visa?

If you are an initial applicant for Global Talent (someone who has not previously held leave in this category, or its predecessor Tier 1 Exceptional Talent) there are two applications stages:

Stage 1 – Application for Endorsement: an endorsing body assesses your skills, abilities and achievements, and advises the Home Office whether you can be endorsed. This stage takes up to 8 weeks to be processed. If your application is considered under ‘Fast Track’ then you may get an endorsement decision in 3 weeks. You must first Apply for Endorsement on the official Global Talent visa website and then also complete a Tech Nation Visa application form for assessment.

In order for your Stage 1 application to be valid you must submit your Tech Nation application form no more than 15 working days after you submitted your Home Office application. Failure to submit your Tech Nation application form will result in your application being rejected as invalid.

The Home Office will inform you if you have been successful in receiving endorsement from Tech Nation. If you are successfully endorsed, you can proceed to apply for the visa (Stage 2).

Stage 2 – Application for Visa: Tech Nation is not involved in Stage 2 – you must apply on the official Global Talent website within 3 months of receiving your endorsement from Tech Nation (failure to do so may result in your endorsement no longer being valid). The Home Office consider immigration aspects, such as general grounds for refusal, and if you are already in the UK whether you are able to switch into Global Talent. This stage usually takes up to 3 weeks if you’re outside the UK, and up to 8 weeks if you’re inside the UK.

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