On 23 June 2020, President Trump signed an executive order to suspend the issuance of temporary worker visas through the end of 2020, in a move to prevent migrants from coming into the US. The order applies to H-1B visas, H-2B visas, H-4 visas, L-1 visas and certain J-1 visas.

H-1B workers hold professional level positions that require specialized education, often working in technology, pharmaceuticals, engineering, and other highly-skilled professions.

If you were considering moving to the US to build your tech career, the UK could be viable option for you to consider instead.  The UK Global Talent Visa in Digital Technologies (formerly Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa) could provide a highly skilled tech entrepreneur or talent the opportunity to live and work in the UK for up to five years.

How do I know this? 

I am an Australian Citizen and wanted to build my wearable tech start up in the UK. In 2016, I was endorsed with exceptional talent by Tech Nation which allowed me to apply for and be successful in my application for the UK Global Talent Visa in Digital Technologies.  I was able to build my wearable tech start up as well as work for various digital technology companies in the UK over 3 years and in 2019, I received my Indefinite leave to Remain Visa and British Citizenship.

What is the UK Global Talent Visa in Digital Technologies?

Branded #TechNationVisa, the UK Global Talent Visa in Digital Technologies (formerly Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa) allows highly skilled tech entrepreneurs and talent the opportunity to live and work in the UK for up to five years.  This is a special visa that was introduced by the UK Government in 2014 to allow an endorsing body, Tech Nation, to endorse applicants with exceptional talent or exceptional promise in Digital technologies if they meet the strict criteria. Once they are endorsed, they can then apply for the Global Talent Visa. Read more about the UK Global Talent Visa here.

What is the strict criteria?

Applicants must submit 15 documents including a CV, Personal Statement, 3 letters of recommendations by experts and then 10 further documents to satisfy key and qualifying criteria.

There are key and qualifying criteria whereby an applicant must provide evidence of innovation, proof of advancing the digital technology sector, making significant contributions to product led digital technology companies, showing leadership, continuous learning and certifications or academic contributions in research.

Am I eligible?

If you are an employee, founder or senior executive working in the field of digital technology for product led digital technology companies who build products or services, you could be eligible.  More information on eligibility for the UK Global Talent Visa can be found here.

How much time will it take for me to apply?

In addition to the preparation of your 15 documents for Tech Nation to consider, it can take up to 8 weeks for an endorsement decision.  Once that occurs, the visa application process can take from 3-8 weeks.  If you are unsuccessful in your endorsement application, there is an opportunity to appeal and that can take between 4-8 weeks.

In other words, it can take between 3-6 months.

Do I need a solicitor to help me apply for the UK Global Talent Visa?

Not necessarily.  The Global Talent Visa is a 2 step process.  The first step is the endorsement step which does not require a solicitor because it is an application for endorsement for exceptional talent or exceptional promise by Tech Nation.  If an applicant is successful in the first step, they will be able to go through to the 2nd step.  The 2nd step is the visa application step and an immigration lawyer can help you if you need one.   If you have any visa related enquiries, an immigration solicitor will be able to assist you.

Do I need a job in the UK to apply for the Global Talent Visa and endorsement?

No, you do not need a job offer to apply and be successful for the endorsement and visa. You do however, need to detail your plan about your future in the UK in the endorsement stage and should be detailed in some of your 15 documents.

Can I bring my dependants?

Yes, if you are successful in your endorsement application, you can apply for your partner and/or children to come to the UK under your Global Talent Visa.

How do I find out more information?

Read my #TechNationVisa blogs

Contact me at [email protected]

Go to the Tech Nation Visa website for the official guidance.

Disclaimer: The contents of this blog is not to be taken as immigration advice. If you need immigration advice, please seek the services of an immigration solicitor.

If you would like guidance and help on the Stage 1 Global Talent Visa Endorsement process or appeals, I help highly skilled tech entrepreneurs and talent increase their chances for a successful application for endorsement for exceptional promise or exceptional talent.  For all my packages of support for the Stage 1 UK Global Talent Visa, click here.

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 (now called Global 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 or exceptional promise. Read Michelle’s other blogs on the #TechNationVisa here and Michelle’s own journey here.