Changes to the UK Global Talent Visa endorsement in Digital Technologies 1 December 2020

My last blog mentioned changes to the UK Global Talent Visa endorsement on 4 June 2020 and 20 February 2020.

I thought that would be it for this year however, on 22 October 2020, new changes to the Global Talent Visa endorsement criteria were announced in Parliament’s 510 page document which included numerous other changes to the UK Immigration Rules.

Tech Nation have also provided on their website that:

  • Applications submitted on or before 30th November 2020 will be assessed according to the current guidance. 
  • Applications submitted on or after 1st December 2020 will be assessed according to the new guidance. 
  • Application submission date is based on when the applicant submits the official ‘Application for Endorsement’ on the Gov.uk website. Tech Nation is informed by the Home Office of the application submission date. Submission of the Tech Nation application form does not affect the official submission date. 

What does this mean?

It means that the Stage 1 endorsement application is a 2 step process.

Step 1 – Register and pay (£456) online at the Home Office (Official Submission Date)

Step 2 – Upload your documents online on the Tech Nation portal to be assessed by Tech Nation Assessors.

Once you complete Step 1, you must complete Step 2 within 15 days. The Official Submission Date is the date you register and pay online at the Home Office.

The new changes to the UK Global Talent Visa endorsements are as follows:

  1. Qualifying criteria 3 will be removed i.e. Continuous Learning or Mastery of Skills
  2. Both Key Criteria 1 (Innovation) and 2 (Proof of recognition of work) are now moving down to the Qualifying Criteria
  3. Qualifying criteria 2 (leading talent) is now moving to Key criteria 
  4. There will only be one Key Criteria – being the leading/potential talent criteria
  5. Qualifying criteria will no longer be referred to as Qualifying Criteria – rather it will be referred to as “options” which an applicant must choose 2 out of 4
  6. Changes will take effect from 1 December 2020
  7. Everything else remains the same (for now!)

Tech Nation publishes all their updates on their website here so please check it to ensure you have the latest information.

Since I have consulted in the Stage 1 Global Talent Visa endorsement in Digital technologies, for the past 4 years including submitting my own application, the most changes that have taken place is the Qualifying criteria 3 continuous learning.

When I applied in 2016, this Qualifying criteria 3 used to only require applicants to submit the last 12 months of certificates for courses they had successfully completed.  If you think about it, evidence of 3 certifications in 12 months is quite onerous if you have to also work in your demanding full time job.

So, applicants were forced to complete quick courses that related to their skills and roles to fulfil this criteria.

Changes then came into effect which provides (and is still current until 1 December 2020) that applicants must show continuous learning over a period of 5 years with courses lasting more than 20 hours

Then, new changes on 4 June 2020 clarified what Mastery of skills actually means because the digital technology sector moves so fast that obtaining certifications when you are actually working on the latest digital technologies is almost impossible.

Mastery of Skills is (currently) defined as a comprehensive knowledge or set of sector specific skills developed over the course of your professional career, culminating in expert knowledge of the latest commercial or technical processes/software.

This means that you can show how you gained your knowledge and mastered your skills while you worked on particular projects.

However, from 1 December 2020, Qualifying criteria 3 which currently states that an applicant must

“Have undergone continuous learning/mastery of new digital skills (commercial or technical) throughout your career” will be removed.

So, here are the new requirements effective from 1 December 2020:

Exceptional Talent:

Applicants must

(a) show that they have been recognised as a leading talent in the digital technology sector; and 

(b) provide evidence of 2 of the following: 

(i) a proven track record for innovation as a founder or senior executive of a product-led digital technology company or as an employee working on a new digital field or concept; or 

(ii) proof of recognition for work beyond the applicant’s occupation that contributes to the advancement of the field; or 

(iii)they have made significant technical, commercial or entrepreneurial contributions to the field as a founder, senior executive or employee of a product-led digital technology company; or 

(iv)they have demonstrated exceptional ability in the field by academic contributions, through research published or endorsed by an expert. 

Exceptional Promise:

Applicants must:

(a) show they have been recognised as having potential to be a leading talent in the digital technology field; and 

(b) provide evidence of at least 2 of the following: 

(i) at least 2 examples of innovation as a founder of a product led digital technology company or as an employee working on a new digital field or concept; or 

(ii) proof of recognition for work beyond the applicant’s occupation that contributes to the advancement of the field; or 

(iii)they have made significant technical, commercial or entrepreneurial contributions to the field as a founder or employee of a product-led digital technology company; or 

(iv)at least 2 examples of exceptional ability in the field by academic contributions, or through research endorsed by an expert. 

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