Ryzal Yusoff started to learn how to code when he was just 14 years old. At 18, he built his first tech product.
Being in the UK has always been Ryzal’s dream. Born and raised in Malaysia, Ryzal applied for a scholarship to continue his undergraduate studies in the UK. Year after year of applying for scholarships in the UK and not being successful, his persistence finally paid off and in 2014. Ryzal received a one year scholarship at the University of Manchester to study Masters in Advanced Computer Science, Advanced Web Technologies.
Ryzal chose Manchester because it is a popular city with the University of Manchester being one of the top universities in the UK and offers a more affordable cost of living compared to London.
During Ryzal’s one year in Manchester, he quickly realised there were more opportunities to learn about entrepreneurship compared to his home country and the environment in Manchester was ripe for Ryzal to start his own tech startup and become an entrepreneur himself.
He also saw that the tech startup scene in Manchester was flourishing with plenty of other tech startups boosting investment for the Northern Powerhouse. Being in the UK also allowed Ryzal to pursue his other 2 passions, travel and photography.
With Ryzal’s one year student visa expiring and after exploring his visa options, Ryzal found the Tech Nation Exceptional Talent visa. He quickly got excited about the prospect of a 5 year visa, however like most potential applicants, after seeing the strict requirements for the visa, he felt he didn’t stand a chance if he applied.
His other option was to apply for and receive a Tier 5 (Temporary Working) visa instead. However, his excitement of extending his stay for one more year meant that he was back to applying for another visa in ten months. During Ryzal’s extended year and knowing the criteria required for the Exceptional Talent Visa, he spent the year gathering evidence, conducting research on the internet about the visa, working hard and immersing himself in the Manchester tech ecosystem while working on all the requirements needed to succeed in applying for the Tech Nation Exceptional Talent visa. Praying for a miracle, Ryzal applied under the exceptional promise category because with only one year of professional experience in the UK and a recent graduate, the exceptional promise route was the most viable option for Ryzal.
Ryzal’s quest in applying for the Exceptional Talent visa was delayed due to his current visa expiring so Ryzal had to leave the country and apply out of the country. But, with his ongoing persistence, Ryzal gathered evidence such as
- Letters from colleagues, friends, and partner companies confirming his essential contributions to the Manchester and UK tech ecosystem;
- His Github account, repos and details on his works for his startup and other startups that he had previously worked with;
- 2 recognition letters in technology related awards being Web Summit Open-Source Contributor Winner 2015 & 2016 and Thinking Digital Newcastle Emerging Talent Fund Recipient 2016;
- His Github account, repos and details of his side projects that he completed showing his continuous learning / mastery of new digital skills.
With his impressive supporting documentation and hard work in achieving his goals, it’s no wonder Ryzal finally succeeded in receiving his visa in the Exceptional Promise category!
He finally has the freedom to continue to help build startups as well as his own, Veggsocial without having to worry about his residency in the UK.
Veggsocial is a social network for vegetarians and vegans or those interested in a healthy plant based diet. Launching soon, the platform lets people browse and discover vegan & vegetarian friendly places, events, recipes, jobs, things to buy, housemates, new friends to connect with, and many more things related to vegetarian and vegans, all in the one place. Veggsocial is more than just a social network though, it is a platform to spread awareness about animal cruelty and how the meat industry affects the environment. By launching this platform, Ryzal hopes to help make a social impact that will not only help to improve the environment but also help to improve people’s diet and health all around the world, starting with the UK.
It was so lovely to chance meet Ryzal in Newcastle who knew me through my tech visa blogs. I was so happy to hear that he fulfilled his dream of moving to the UK (despite all his visa challenges!) and it’s why I continue to write my blogs. I love meeting applicants who, because of my stories, interviews and blogs, go on to confidently apply for and succeed in obtaining the UK Tech Nation Exceptional Talent Visa.
To read more about my blogs about the UK Tech Nation Exceptional Talent Visa, click here!
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.
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.