Why The Tech Nation Exceptional Talent Visa Endorsement Process is So Challenging

If anyone can understand the emotional rollercoaster one goes through when applying for the Exceptional Talent Visa endorsement, it’s me.

Because I’ve been through the process myself.  I spent 3 stressful months of gathering all my evidence, chasing experts, writing my personal statement, updating my CV, speaking to anyone who could possibly help me (when at the time, there were no Ambassadors nor any successful recipients that I knew of) and getting pangs of imposter syndrome, sleepness nights, wondering what my future would hold if I didn’t get the endorsement and visa which meant I would have to leave everything I built in the UK for the last 3.5 years and return to Australia.

Fortunately for me, I received a successful result.  And after receiving my endorsement and visa for Exceptional Talent, I wrote a blog about my experience to help others who were also thinking of applying. I was invited on a panel in Newcastle hosted by Tech Nation where I shared my journey and advice on how applicants can apply for the Exceptional Talent Endorsement. I also became an Ambassador for the Tech Nation Visa Scheme for 2 years before branching out and consulting with applicants for the Stage 1 endorsement process.

Over the past three years, I have helped over 100 highly skilled tech entrepreneurs and talent with the endorsement process via my templates, blogs and consultancy services. With a 70-80% success rate I have been able to help applicants working for Sony, Facebook, What’s App, Tata Communications, Linkedin and CTOs and CEOs of startups, UX designers, business development, product managers and graduates from countries all over the world. I have also helped numerous applicants in the appeal process too.

This is because when I went through the process myself, I felt that there wasn’t enough help or support.  Since then, there has been more information available, the criteria has been clarified and changed over the years to make it clearer in what types of applicants are suitable and how an applicant can meet the criteria.

However, the Tech Nation Exceptional Talent endorsement process can still be daunting and overwhelming.  The amount of time you need to put in to ensure you put your best feet forward in only 10 documents, 2 pages each to meet the criteria is challenging because you either feel you don’t have enough documents or too many documents or you don’t know if it is enough to meet the criteria. And if, like me, your current visa in the UK is expiring, time is running against you adding more pressure.

And then it can be also extremely disappointing if you receive an unsuccessful result after all your hard work and time in preparing the application.

After receiving numerous enquiries about unsuccessful applications, I wrote a blog about how applicants can appeal the Assessor’s decision and the options available. I have also helped enough applicants to know the types of feedback by Assessors to help prevent others from receiving the same feedback or help them appeal the Assessor’s decision and seek a review of their application.

 

Tech Nation’s statistics show that the success rate for endorsements is 50%.   In 2018-2019, Tech Nation received 650 applications for Exceptional Talent endorsement.  The previous year saw 450 applications submitted so the number of applications submitted are rising.

The Assessors for Tech Nation are highly skilled experts working in the digital technology sector in the UK. They need to be convinced, through your evidence, your personal statement, CV, and letters of recommendation that you deserve to be in the UK.  They need you to make a strong argument about how you will make a strong and significant impact to the UK tech sector through the work you have done and your plans in the UK. They also need to know you can follow the guidelines set by Tech Nation because they too are bound by assessing you against the guidelines.

When I applied for my endorsement, I viewed it as more than a job application, even though it had the flavour of a job application.  And this is what I advise all my clients. This is an application for an Exceptional Talent endorsement, not a highly skilled visa. This is an application to show more than what you are paid to do in your day to day role as a person working in the field of digital technology.

This is a chance to show the Assessors how you add value to your tech community, how you not only get paid to work but how you use your time, knowledge and expertise to pay it forward, to bring the UK tech sector or your own tech sector to new heights, to push its boundaries, advance it and make it a globally competitive sector all because of you.

Competition for the Exceptional Talent visa endorsement is fierce.  Tech Nation can only endorse 200 applications per year for Exceptional Talent or Exceptional Promise.  They can also endorse up to 1000 applications that is also available for other Designated Competent Bodies who may go over their quota for endorsements.

In 2016, I struggled to find information and other successful applicants who received the Exceptional Talent Endorsement.   Over the past three years, Tech Nation have worked very hard and have:

  1. Made the guidelines clearer, in particular, clarified the Exceptional Talent and Promise categories;
  2. Updated the guidelines on a consistent basis; and
  3. Appointed Tech Nation Visa Ambassadors to help promote the Tech Nation Visa scheme.

There is an official email address and advice is available through immigration solicitors. But if one does not want to go through solicitors, I now support and work with applicants by consulting on the Stage 1 Tech Nation Exceptional Talent endorsement process. This is because I have been through the process myself so I understand the importance of meeting the strict criteria and how to present the right evidence to meet the strict criteria. I have helped so many of my fellow tech entrepreneurs and talent with the endorsement application process and my success rate is 70-80%. I also used to be a solicitor in Australia so I have been trained to ensure all the t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted 🙂

I understand that culture may be one of the many reasons why applicants find the process challenging.  I see time and time again that applicants from various cultures possess characteristics that are very different to others.  For example, it may not be culturally acceptable for someone from one country to be outspoken about their personal and professional achievements while it may be perfectly acceptable for someone from another country to do so.

I understand that language may be a barrier for some applicants because if they are from a different country, chances are, English is not their first language.   Applications and evidence for the Exceptional Talent Visa endorsement must be in English or translated to English. Some things can be lost in translation so it may be worth having someone like me sense check your application.

I understand that time is probably against most applicants because they are most likely also working in their full time jobs, running their own startups, have their own families and trying to ensure their happiness and future is also secure.  I help my clients by providing them with a checklist on their documents and criteria, to help them stay focussed and reach their goal of submitting their application on time.

It’s also having the right support, someone who has also been in your shoes, survived and lived to tell the tale as well as felt the same pressure as you who can make all the difference in helping you achieve your goal and overcome your challenges.

 

If you are experiencing any challenges with the Exceptional Talent Endorsement process and need my support, complete my questionnaire so I can help you overcome them.

 

This blog was written by Michelle Hua, Consultant, Speaker, CEO & Founder of Made With Glove. In 2016, Michelle was the recipient of the Exceptional Talent Visa and is the former #TechNationVisa Ambassador.  Michelle consults for highly skilled tech entrepreneurs and people working in digital technologies on how they can receive the endorsement for exceptional talent. Read Michelle’s other blogs on the #TechNationVisa here and Michelle’s own journey here.

 

Contact Michelle at techvisa@michellehua.co.uk to discuss how you can get endorsed for the UK Tech Nation Exceptional Talent Visa.

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