The UK's Global Talent Visa allows exceptional professionals academia or research, arts and culture and digital technology to work in the UK.
However, ever because our coverage is tech-focused, we will explore the digital technology arm of the visa which has Tech Nation as its endorsing body.
As the race for global tech talent heats up, many countries have been making their pitch to attract the best and brightest to grow their tech industries and create jobs. The Global Talent Visa, for which Tech Nation is the official endorsing body for the Digital Technology route, was the first visa route of its kind, when its predecessor the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa was created in 2014.
The Global Talent Visa enables tech talent to work in the UK’s digital technology sector. “You can apply for a Global Talent visa to work in the UK if you’re a leader or potential leader in one of the following fields: academia or research, arts and culture and digital technology. You must also be at least 18 years old.” according to the UK Government.
Since 2020, Tech Nation has received over 1,975 applications and endorsed over 920 visas from 50 countries worldwide. India, US, and Nigeria were the top 3 countries coming into the UK through this visa. In 2020, 52% of those endorsed by Tech Nation are IT professionals working in the UK's leading tech and 28% are tech founders, with 421 talents having set up their business in the UK.
Last Tuesday, we hosted three Nigerian tech professionals—Peace Itimi (Head of Growth, Hover), Seunla Osinowo (Senior Product Manager, Craneware) and Imole Oluyemi (Product Designer, Babylon) —who are recipients of the visa to a Twitter Space to discuss their experiences so far.
📢 Hey! We are starting in a few minutes. https://t.co/1olugGrn9i— Benjamindada.com, tech blog (@dadabenblog) April 12, 2022
What stood out for you when applying for the visa?
Imole: The application forces you to sit down and take stock of your career, the advantage of this is that even if you get rejected or accepted, the value you attach to yourself will increase. You now become more intentional with your future endeavours.
Peace: The process of getting a Tech Nation visa was actually simple. Even though it feels overwhelming, all you need to do is understand the requirements—it makes the process straightforward for you.
Seunla: At a glance, the process is overwhelming, I almost paid 1000 pounds to an agent to process the visa. The Tech Nation Visa boosts your confidence as to what you can achieve.
What is the downside to the Tech Nation Visa?
Peace: Except that you will move to the UK and start paying ridiculous taxes, I don’t see any down side. The Tech Nation visa is one of the most flexible visas in the UK unlike students, spousal visas etc.
Imole: London is expensive, so you need to have a stack of cash somewhere before you relocate. Tech Nation Visa is a tier one Visa, so it gives you room to do a lot of things. The most important thing is for you to pay your taxes.
Is there a specific budget an intending applicant should aim for?
Imole: For me, I came to the UK with my wife [she came as a “dependent global talent”]. We spent over 10 million Naira for everything—including the visas, accommodation, health insurance. This was around July 2020. An interesting thing about the visa is, you do not need a specific amount in your account to access the Visa.
Peace: The cost is relative, depending on what you can afford. I will advise that you have about $5000-$6000 before starting the process.
It costs £623 to apply. If you’re applying based on an endorsement, you’ll pay £623 in two parts: £456 when you apply for the endorsement and £167 when you apply for the visa itself. If you’re applying based on an eligible award, you’ll pay the full £623 when you apply for the visa. Then, if you’re including your partner or children in your application, they’ll each need to pay £623.
How do I go about the Tech Nation endorsement?
Peace: Tech Nation will review your significant contribution to your current tech ecosystem and innovation proof. Then letters from reputable professionals in your community.
An endorsement by Tech Nation will prove to the UK government that you are a leader or potential leader in your field and you can be a good resource to the country.
If your experience is less than 5 years, you can apply under the ‘Exceptional Promise’. Meanwhile, if your experience is more than 5 years, you can apply under the ‘Exceptional Talent’.
It is not just your experience that matters though. Your achievements throughout your career- the process of ideating something exceptional and driving it towards a successful execution and its consecutive impact on the business, people or the digital world, matters immensely.