As a follow up to my last FAQs, here are more FAQs to help you with your Tech Nation Exceptional Talent visa endorsement application.

1. Do my experts have to provide a letter on a letterhead?                                                                       

Yes, they should provide a letterhead but if there is an issue with them providing company letterheads, they can just use their own personal letterhead. I provide templates for letters of recommendations for experts and letterheads in my membership area if they don’t have one.

2. I don’t think my current managers will be supportive of my application for exceptional talent endorsement.  What do I do?

It can be awkward asking your current employer or manager to support you in your application if your plans are to leave the company.  Because the letter of recommendation must include what your plans are in the UK if you receive the exceptional talent visa.

In this case, you may wish to seek the support from someone else within the organisation who you trust, who knows you, your work and is an expert who can vouch for you.  Otherwise, you will have to find someone from outside your organisation to support you.

This is extremely tricky as it may jeopardise your current position in your company and I help many applicants who are in this predicament by working with them and consulting them during our 1-2-1 meeting.

3. Is there a best time to apply for the Exceptional Talent endorsement?

Apply when you are ready.  Or, if time is an issue for you i.e. if your current visa is expiring, you must leave plenty of time to apply for the endorsement, factor in if you are unsuccessful as you have the right to appeal bearing in mind the 28 day period for appealing and 28 days for Tech Nation to respond and then the time it takes to apply for Stage 2.

I have helped many applicants where time is running against them because they haven’t factored in 

i.the amount of time it takes to prepare an application

ii. the amount of time it takes for experts to come back

iii. the amount of time it takes to structure their application

iv. the amount of time it takes to think about which evidence goes against which criteria’ and

v. the amount of time it takes to prepare the application alongside their other day to day commitments.

My advice is to seek advice from an immigration solicitor about your timing.

Start preparing for your endorsement application as early as possible, from 6 months to at least one year before your current visa expires.  I know this from experience of working with many applicants as well as on my own application. I left my application to the very last minute, in fact, 4 months before my visa expired and I only just made it with 2 weeks to spare.

This was extremely stressful and looking back, I don’t know why I left it so late. I think it was because I was so busy with my start up and I thought I could extend my Entrepreneur’s visa so when I stumbled across the Exceptional Talent Visa, that seemed like a better fit for me.  Plus, when I realised I couldn’t extend my Entrepreneur’s visa, the Exceptional Talent visa was my only option. The pressure was definitely on and I guess I like a good challenge…

So, to prevent anyone else from going through my pain, I highly recommend you to start preparing your application for endorsement as early as possible.  I was so lucky I was successful. I don’t even want to think about if I wasn’t successful; I definitely would have ran out of time even if I appealed.  

4. What is the success rate?

Endorsement rates for exceptional talent or promise are 50%.  So, only one in two applicants are successful. My success rate is 70-80%.  This is because I’ve been through the process myself and I have helped other applicants with not only their Stage 1 applications but also their appeals. This means that I know what the assessor’s feedback are and what to look out for when I help applicants with their endorsement applications.

While I don’t guarantee success, I help applicants increase their chances of a successful application. I use my three years of knowledge of working with applicants on their Stage 1 endorsement applications and over the years, I’ve seen the various updates to the guidelines and have seen and met the types of candidates they are accepting.  I also successfully received my Indefinite Leave to Remain and my British Citizenship as a result of going through this whole process.

I’ve worked with solicitors and while the Stage 1 endorsement application is not an immigration application, and I am not a UK immigration solicitor, I have been through the process myself, I understand the UK tech sector because I am a tech entrepreneur and I live, breathe and work in start up world.  I was also a solicitor in Australia for 8 years so I have experience in representing and advocating clients and applicants in the best way.

I offer a range of packages of support to help applicants with their endorsement applications, from DIY to my bespoke consultancy packages.

5. What is the gender split for applications received and endorsed by Tech Nation?

Tech Nation statistics have revealed that there is a 30/70 gender split for applications received for endorsements.

The success rate for Stage 1 endorsement is 27% (female) vs 73% (male).

I help both men and women in tech with their applications for endorsement.  But, with my extra curricular activities in helping and advocating women in tech through my role as a STEM Ambassador in the UK and co-founding Women of Wearables in 2015, an organisation that inspires, connects and promote women in wearables, working with girls in STEM and speaking about my journey as a female entrepreneur at UK universities, my goal in 2020 is to help more women apply for the Exceptional Talent endorsement. In fact, when I applied for the Exceptional Talent endorsement, I chose Key criteria 2, Proof of Recognition outside of my immediate occupation.  I used evidence and documents through my work in advocating and supporting women and girls in tech.

And anyone can also use this key criteria to show that they advanced the digital technology sector through their community work in supporting underrepresented groups, not just women.

6. What are the benefits of applying for the Tech Nation Exceptional Talent Visa?

The benefits are

  1. you can live and work in the UK for up to 5 years.  
  2. It is attached to you so you will have the flexibility and freedom to work anywhere in the UK in the digital technology sector.
  3. It will allow you the opportunity to apply for an indefinite leave to remain and then citizenship if you choose.
  4. It will allow your dependants to be with you in the UK
  5. It will allow you to start your own company in the UK
  6. And allow you to work for any company in the UK without a sponsorship from that company.

7. Do I need to use the services of a solicitor for the endorsement process?

You can seek the services of a solicitor for Stage 1 applications.  However, Stage 1 applications are not immigration applications while Stage 2, is an immigration application.

I consult in Stage 1 endorsement applications and I have, in the past, referred applicants to solicitors.  However, applicants have returned to me because I’ve been through the process myself, I understand the tech sector and I help guide, coach and advise applicants on the different types of evidence they can submit as well as how to structure their application.  This is why I now help applicants with Stage 1 endorsement applications and appeals.

8. How do I show impact?

It is important to turn your mind to the impact of your work and achievements when you submit any evidence. This is because impact is the result or outcome of your achievement and it is usually measurable in some way.  Qualifying criteria 1 is about making significant impact due to your contribution.  

Whatever your impact is, you must show how your work has made an impact either to the project, to a person, the company, to the revenue or to business processes.  You must show how that was measured and the effect of your work.

9. How do I show innovation?

Key criteria 1 is about innovation.  You could explain why or how innovative your project was or is by benchmarking it against the industry standard.  Some types of industries are very traditional and what you have worked on has transformed it in an innovative way to make a difference or disrupt the industry. Digital transformation can occur in varying levels dependant on the industry and you could explain your innovation in this way.

10. I spent so much time on my application only to be unsuccessful. I’ve seen a range of successful recipients and I think I should have been successful – How is it that they were successful and I wasn’t?

I completely understand.  When I review full applications, I see so many gaps and ideas on how I could have helped make it better had the applicants come to me before they submitted.  This is because it’s not just about your content, it’s also how you structure your application.  

I’ll explain why.  Assessors have a role and that is to ensure you meet the criteria because they have a checklist themselves. They have to be convinced that you are an exceptional talent or promise. They want you to present yourself in the best way so they can confidently say yes, you fit the criteria, your evidence is clear and structured as well as shows how you will make a significant impact to the digital technology sector.

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.