There is no question of the exponential increase in technological advances made throughout the world. However, some interesting questions to ask are, what drives this change, or how exactly does humanity manage to consistently push its boundaries in relation to technological change?
One answer to these questions, out of many, would be the efforts of governments around the world to implement encouraging foreign and business policies to nurture and develop technological advances. The UK is no stranger to such practices, having taken many measures such as introducing the ‘Digital Sandbox’ in 2020 to promote innovation in digital technology, and multiple TechSprints over the years to promote technological innovation in various industries.
The Global Talent Visa for digital technology, introduced in 2020, also known as the ‘Tech Nation Visa’ is also one such attempt by the UK to accelerate the growth of its digital technology sector. This visa aims to make UK’s digital technology sector as accessible as possible to exceptional talents around the world.
Global Talent Visas for fields such as Academic and Research, and Arts and Culture are also offered by the UK, however, this article will cover the visa process and guidance with regard to the Global Talent Visa for Digital Technology. Digital Technology being a field already expanding with new innovative inventions.
What is a Tech Nation Visa?
The Tech Nation Visa, officially understood as the Global Talent Visa for digital technology, is available to those individuals who can demonstrate expertise either in the technical or business side of their digital technology sub-sectors.
Who Can Apply for This Visa?
Tech Nation, an organization backed by the government for the growth and promotion of networking between technology entrepreneurs, assess those applicants who have less than 5 years of work experience in the technology sector and can also demonstrate the potential of being future leaders in digital technology. Such applicants must be in an early stage of their career and must demonstrate innovative or contributory evidence to their respective sectors. This applicant is known as an ‘Exceptional Promise’.
The other type of applicant recognized by Tech Nation is ‘Exceptional Talent’. Such applicants must be recognized as leading talents in their sector in the last 5 years. They must also demonstrate achievements in their sector that have been recognized as having contributed to the advancement of digital technology.
Based on the accolades and promising characteristics of the applicant, Tech Nation’s panel assess these endorsement applications to ascertain if the threshold has been met.
Endorsement and Eligible Award route
Before an Applicant can apply for the Tech Nation Visa, they must apply for an endorsement from Tech Nation. Tech Nation then assesses these endorsement applications from applicants who wish to apply for the Tech Nation Visa based on the ‘Exceptional promise’ or ‘Exceptional talent’ criteria.
Applicants can also apply without an endorsement from Tech Nation. This can be done if they can demonstrate the receipt of an ‘Eligible award’ by a recognized body.
Once the applicant has obtained the endorsement application or can demonstrate the achievement of an eligible award, only then can they proceed to apply for the Tech Nation Visa.
What are the advantages of Tech Nation visa route?
This Visa offers the applicant a stay of up to 5 years in the UK with working rights and the possibility of qualifying for an indefinite leave to remain after as early as 3 years. The Visa holder can also choose to extend their visa for an indefinite number of times as long as they meet the criteria for extending their stay.
During these 5 years, the visa holder can choose to be self-employed, work as an employee, or even be appointed as a director of a company. Furthermore, there are no requirements for the visa holder to notify the Home Office of a change in employment, as is required for the Skilled Worker Visa.
Additionally, unlike most visa applications, the applicant can choose to apply for this Visa from either inside or outside the UK. Therefore, affording greater flexibility and accessibility to potential applicants. The Home Office has also struck any requirements for any language or a minimum threshold salary requirement for this Visa, greatly widening the scope to attract as much talent as possible.
Can I bring Family Members?
With the Tech Nation Visa, the Home Office also allows the applicant to bring their dependents to the UK to join them as well. Further accessibility is also afforded by allowing the dependents to apply from outside and inside the UK.
Dependents can also undertake studies whilst in the UK under the Tech Nation Visa, as well as work and can also qualify for an indefinite leave to remain.
The Tech Nation Visa forms an essential part of the UK’s attempt to attract exceptional talent in the digital technology sectors. As mentioned above, the ease of accessibility for the targeted class of individuals, as well as the relatively more lenient means of changing employment and qualifying for an indefinite leave to remain displays the intention of the UK to retain such talent.
The current state of the UK’s technology sector also reflects the success of the measures taken by the UK to grow and develop its technology sector. As of December 2022, UK’s technology sector retained the No.1 spot in Europe and No.3 in the world.
As the digital technology sectors around the world continue to grow, the demand for such expertise is expected to increase as well. The Tech Nation Visa proves itself to be an exception window for talented individuals to enter one of the world’s most thriving technological markets.