New Changes October 2021 – UK Global Talent Visa in Digital Technologies

The UK Global Talent Visa is a special visa that allows highly skilled tech people in the digital technology sector the right to live and work in the UK for up to five years. It is a two stage process where an applicant must be endorsed with Exceptional Talent (as a leader in tech) or Exceptional Promise (as an emerging leader in tech) by Tech Nation before they can apply for the visa.

Once an applicant receives their endorsement and visa, it allows them

  • The freedom and flexibility to live and work in the UK tech sector
  • Apply for Indefinite leave to remain and British citizenship
  • Bring their dependents with them
  • Start a UK Ltd company if theywant to
  • Is attached to them and not reliant on their employer to offer sponsorship

In 2016, I was endorsed with Exceptional Talent and went on to receive my UK Global Talent Visa in Digital Technologies. Since then, I have helped over 500 people with their own applications through being a Tech Nation Visa Ambassador and now coach applicants with their Stage 1 endorsement applications.

Read my blog here how I was endorsed with Exceptional Talent in 2016

The Global Talent Visa is a two stage process where an applicant must be endorsed by Tech Nation with exceptional talent or exceptional promise, before they can apply for the visa.

The difference between exceptional talent and exceptional promise categories is that if an applicant has more than 5 years experience, they should apply under the exceptional talent category.  If they have less than five years experience, they should apply for an exceptional promise category.  It means that they will be deemed as a leader or emerging leader in tech so they can apply for the Global Talent Visa.

The aim of the Global Talent Visa in Digital Technologies is to have the best and brightest tech talent from across the world.

It started in 2014 where less than 100 applied with a 200 cap limit.  Over the years, more and more people applied each year, with the cap being abolished in 2020.  Now, anyone who meets the strict criteria could potentially be endorsed as an exceptional or emerging leader in tech.  There is a 54% endorsement rate, in other words, one in two applicants get through.  

The reason for this low success rate is because the strict criteria means that an applicant must fulfil each of the 3 out of 5 criteria. This includes 10 documents to show they are leaders or emerging leaders in tech, show their innovation, volunteer work in the tech sector, significant contributions or academic contribution with significant impact in the tech sector.

In addition, they must provide 3 letters of recommendations by experts in their field, a CV and a strong personal statement that explains why they should be endorsed and what their future plans in the UK are.

Learn more about the UK Global Talent Visa here.

The new changes to the guidelines for the Global Talent Visa in Digital Technologies means that the criteria is clearer and applicants can use the changes to refine their applications before submitting.

The changes to the endorsement guidelines in October 2021 include:

  1. Technical applicants (i.e. programmers) from non-technical organisations are eligible.
  2. Non-technical applicants (i.e. business roles) from technical organisations are eligible.
  3. Non-technical applicants from non-technical organisations are generally not eligible.
  4. Evidence of mentorship must be for activity outside the applicant’s organisation or normal course of work duties and excludes mentorship of other commercial organisations as part of a commercial arrangement. Mentorship should be on behalf of a structured programme with selection criteria and is inclusive of non-profit charities and social mentorship programmes. You must be able to demonstrate a consistent track record of mentoring and have received recognition for your personal contribution. Mentoring at a university or a single startup is not sufficient. When mentoring alongside other mentors (for example at a top-tier accelerator) you must have been a senior mentor that may be evidenced through a letter of reference from the programme. Note that simply training a colleague, providing general support or advice, or advising at a company of someone you know is not considered to meet the definition of mentorship.
  5. Talks or conference speaking that have had a significant viewership. Conferences must be widely regarded as sector-leading events for your field with at least 100 attendees (not registrations). As a speaker you must be speaking on the main stage and the invitation to speak must not have been paid for by your organisation as part of any sponsorship. Leading a workshop or running a session at a conference is not sufficient. Evidence should include your speech with either a link to the video of you speaking, the programme of events displaying your talk or a reference letter from the conference organiser with explanation of why you were asked to speak.
  6. All evidence submitted must be legible to be considered during assessment.
  7. Patent applications made solely for the purpose & timing of application are not acceptable.
  8. All Promise criteria have been amended to require ‘At least 1 example’ of evidence
  9. Added Board member to the Optional Criteria 3
  10. Clarified that academic research must published or endorsed by an expert.

Changes to the Stage 1 endorsement application guidelines go through a series of amendments a few times a year.  This means that applicants must check the guidelines before they submit to ensure their applications are not affected by the changes.

Book a free Discovery Call here if you’d like me to help you with your application for the UK Global Talent Visa endorsement.