Application for the Silicon Valley Internship Programme (SVIP) is set to close on Sunday, February 24, 2019. The SVIP has two tracks which bring newly graduating Software Engineering students from 35 countries around the world to work at a startup in the Silicon Valley.

As Silicon Valley startups grapple to navigate increasingly challenging immigration regulations, a pioneering internship program–SVIP–is connecting top startups with exceptional foreign engineering talents. Founded in 2013, the goal of the programme is to close the talent gap while giving international engineers the skills they need to become successful entrepreneurs in their home-countries.

The SVIP brings top engineers from all over the world–with 50% of the engineers being female –to work at Bay Area technology companies. In partnership with top engineering institutions across 35 countries, the platform attracts the best engineers from universities such as Oxford and Cambridge to universities in Taiwan, and most recently SVIP partnered with Reykjavik University, forming the strongest international network of entrepreneurial engineers.

What you need to know about the SVIP

The first track of the SVIP accepts male and female software engineers with a STEM degree (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) from any accredited European, Scandinavian, EEA University.

The second track, in partnership with GBx-x, accepts female engineers with a STEM degree from outside of Europe. SVIP interns are paid a salary of $75,000 for the year.

The program also facilitates the hiring process for companies by arranging all the immigration and legal documentation, taking care of interns flights and accommodation for the first month.

Carter Wilkinson, Head of Finance and Operations of Roam Analytics, an SVIP company that has hired engineers through the program, says:

“In a world of ever-more complex recruiting programs, SVIP is a blessing. They helped introduce us to some exceptional candidates and have always made the process a breeze.”

Julian Ong, from Eat Club, is another happy partner of the program. Ong says,

“SVIP has continually connected us with outstanding engineers over the past five years. It's been amazing to see how motivated SVIPers are and how quickly they're able to get up to speed and make meaningful contributions to our business.”

The satisfaction rate of the program can be measured by the accurate matching process of engineers and tech company.

“In the long term, what we're doing is creating a community of technical entrepreneurs who will build businesses all around the world and we're hoping to continue to work with engineering institution and startups to help support this program as it directly impacts their tech communities,” explains Michael Hughes, Founder of SVIP

How to Apply for SVIP

A number of applicants from Nigeria–mostly from Lagos– had participated in the programme in the past. This year, "we want to have more representatives from Africa joining our programme. It would be exciting to see more female-engineers in Africa leverage this opportunity," Michael says.

To participate, candidates need to meet the criteria outlined on the ‘Requirement' section of the website. Applications close on February 24th.

All candidates complete an online application and a coding test as part of the first stage of screening. Then candidates are selected and go through two rounds of interviews with the SVIP team before being introduced to the startup.

Once an offer letter/employment agreement is signed, SVIP will work with the engineers and prepare their visas, book their flights and arrange first month of accommodation.

Other Benefits of the SVIP

The SVIP also hosts monthly ‘Meet the Entrepreneur’ sessions where interns interact with high-caliber entrepreneurs. Previous speakers include Justin Kan of Twitch.tv and Pete Flint of Trulia (acquired for $3.5 billion).

Interns also participate in ‘Hackathon’ events, which take them through the company formation process from idea to revenue. A great example is the alumni-student Mario Hayashi who opened his own business–Data Hygge–after the program. He said:

“SVIP is the definitely the best way to get exposure to startups as an aspiring entrepreneur. During my time in California, I was fortunate to be placed at a SVIP host company that was growing fast and went onto IPO. Thanks to the experience, I was able to accelerate my software engineering career and decision to start a company.”