On 22 June 2016, the day before the announcement of Brexit, I was recognised as having an Exceptional Talent in Digital Technology by endorsement from Tech Nation. (#TechNationVisa) This meant that I could apply for the UK Global Talent Visa to live and work in the UK.
At the time, Tech Nation only issued 200 endorsements per year to individuals wishing to enter or remain in the UK under the Global Talent Visa (formerly Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa). With Manchester being one of the cities in the North that benefits from the fast track route, I was able to take this opportunity and apply for the 18 working day fast track route to endorsement. The cap is now lifted under the new Global Talent Visa scheme and there is no limit to how many Tech Nation or the other endorsing bodies can endorse. There is also no longer a fast track option for those wishing to relocate to the North of England.
The Global Talent Visa is a 2 step process and scheme introduced by the UK Government in 2015 to assist the UK economy in bringing the best talent from around the world to the UK. Tech Nation is the endorsing body for those wishing to apply for exceptional talent or promise in the digital technology sector hence the #TechNationVisa.
This is the reason most, if not all applicants decide to apply for the Global Talent Visa. It allows those not only in the tech and digital industries to live and work in the UK, but it also offers those in the creative arts, fashion, architecture, research and engineering and science industries the opportunity to also live and work in the UK for up to five years under the Global Talent Visa route.
Being an Australian citizen and temporary resident in the UK due to my Tier 1 Entrepreneurs visa, it means that I could use the endorsement from Tech Nation to apply for the Global Talent Visa to remain in the UK for a further 5 years. The endorsement by Tech Nation is the only way I can apply for the visa.
It meant that I could continue my journey as the Founder & CEO of Made With Glove Ltd in Manchester and to scale my company to a global level.
I met the strict criteria listed by Tech Nation by providing evidence that I contributed to the Digital Technology industry by promoting Women in Technology by speaking at tech events, being a STEM Ambassador and by mentoring other women in technology. I also co-founded and led a community organisation, Women of Wearables to inspire, promote and connect women in wearable tech, IoT and AR/VR. What started in London became a global organisation where in just 18 months, we organically grew our following from 0 to 8000. As part of the application, Tech Nation required evidence that I:
- Made significant technical, commercial, or entrepreneurial contributions in the digital technology sector as the founder of my company, Made With Glove;
- Am recognised as a world leading talent in the digital technology sector by speaking and writing about Wearable Technology both in Manchester and London and Women in Tech and Business;
- Have undergone continuous learning / mastery of new digital skills (commercial or technical) throughout my career; and
- Have demonstrated exceptional ability in the field by making academic contributions through research by my collaboration with the University of Exeter.
CEO Tech Nation, Gerard Grech, said:
“Fast-growing digital technology businesses play a central role in ensuring the UK stays at the forefront of digital innovation and economic growth on the world stage. Based on the feedback from the tech community, the new Tech Nation Visa Scheme will prove to be a vital tool for companies that want to secure the high calibre people they need to quickly scale their product, service and operations.”
Upon achieving my goal of receiving the endorsement for exceptional talent by Tech Nation, it is only because of the team and support that kept me going, that drove me to apply for and be successful in receiving this high accolade from Tech Nation. It was a very high accolade to be endorsed with exceptional talent instead of exceptional promise because the Assessor considered that in just three years of working in the UK tech sector, I had exceptional talent qualities and proved to them that I am a leader who has made significant contribution to the UK tech sector.
I am also very grateful for my supportive network in the UK, including my experts who provided letters of recommendation about my character, professional abilities and their belief in me that I would continue to make a significant impact to the UK digital tech sector. Without their help in providing me with their strong written recommendations of support, I wouldn’t have received the endorsement.
In addition to letters of recommendations by experts, the documents that I submitted included
- Letters of support from Women in Tech organisations that showed my impact to their community including testimonials from attendees;
- Promotional material at prestigious wearable tech conferences where I was the speaker alongside high profile speakers;
- Letters of support from Professors about my academic contribution and research for my start up Made With Glove; and
- Articles and interviews by tech publications showing my thought leadership in wearable tech, entrepreneurship qualities and awards I had won.
If was difficult to choose which pieces of evidence to submit so I included those documents that showed the Assessor how, in just three years of living in the UK, I established the “Michelle Hua” personal brand using my start up, Made With Glove, as the vehicle. In establishing an authentic personal brand, I showed credibility by listing and evidencing my achievements through my work at Made With Glove and Women of Wearables and the impact that I made to the UK tech ecosystem. My focus was to ensure I fulfilled each criteria with each piece of document. My focus was also to ensure that each piece of document showed my credibility. And I was able to tell my professional story about my significant impact to the UK tech sector using all 10 pieces of evidence, my letters of recommendation, CV and particularly my personal statement.
Since I received my visa, I have helped over 250 highly skilled tech entrepreneurs and talent with the endorsement process and my success rate is 70-80%. If you would like guidance and help on the Exceptional Talent Endorsement process or appeals, I help highly skilled tech entrepreneurs and talent increase their chances and succeed in their application for endorsement. Learn more about my packages of support 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.