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Tech Nation Visa - attracting the brightest tech talent to the UK

Posted: 26/07/2018


The Tech Nation Visa enables the brightest and best tech talent from around the world to come and work in the UK’s digital technology sector, contributing their cutting-edge expertise, creativity and innovation to maintain the UK’s position at the forefront of the global digital economy. Tech Nation has been designated by the Home Office to endorse applications for the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa in digital technology.

Depending on an individual’s experience, they can apply via one of the following routes:

  • Exceptional Talent: proven to be a recognised leader. Those endorsed under this route can apply for settlement after three years;
  • Exceptional Promise: proven to be an emerging leader. Those endorsed under this route can apply for settlement after five years.

Some of the amendments to this category, which came into effect on 6 July 2018 under the changes to the immigration rules, include:

  • changes to the regional location criteria for fast tracking applications;
  • clearer guidance for those with experience of scaling a business;
  • accelerator participation – applicants can now provide evidence of being accepted onto a recognised UK accelerator programme. These include TechStars, Barclays Accelerator and Microsoft Accelerator;
  • as with all Exceptional Talent visa schemes, Tech Nation applicants will no longer have to be ‘world leaders’ but can simply be leaders in their fields.

Each year 200 endorsements are available to Tech Nation. Should the allocation be met, up to 1,000 additional endorsements can be available. 

Since 2014:

  • over 1,000 applications have been received for the Tech Nation visa;
  • over 600 applications have been approved; and
  • endorsees have come from over 50 different countries.

Specialist expertise
The immigration team at Penningtons Manches has a vast amount of experience helping those applying under this visa category which can prove useful to tech start-ups, established companies and tech entrepreneurs. Team head Pat Saini, as part of her role as chair of Tech London Advocates’ immigration working group, was instrumental in introducing changes to this visa category which resulted in the category being ‘fit for purpose’.

Some examples of endorsees who have been assisted by the team include:

  • CEO of an overseas business looking to acquire a UK tech business;
  • Linux copywriter who went on to take up a role with a global tech company;
  • MBA graduate who was the co-founder of a fintech start-up;
  • recent graduate who was instrumental to the success of a medtech start-up;
  • female founder of Safe In the City;
  • experienced mobile app developer;
  • virtual and augmented reality developer;
  • VC looking to further his investment portfolio in digital businesses;
  • CTO with experience of scaling multiple businesses;
  • cyber security expert;
  • UK digital company looking to take on a digital marketing expert;
  • VP of operations and finance;
  • principal software engineer who had a job offer from a university spin out.

The guidance for Tech Nation can be found here


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Penningtons Manches LLP

Penningtons Manches LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. San Francisco is an associated office.

Penningtons Manches LLP