World Leading Exceptional Talent in Digital Technology! Sounds scary and out of reach but that is what your Visa will say when/if you get endorsed by Tech Nation. Most people do not know about this Visa scheme and the ones who know are constantly trying to look for articles, videos and resources that can make their application stronger and possibly successful. I know how it feels and this why when I got endorsed in May 2017, I made a decision to create high quality content around the Tech Nation Exceptional Talent Visa so that people can gain value from it and learn from someone who has been there and done that.
If you are new to this blog, you should definitely check out my in-depth article (actually my first article about my endorsement) titled “How I Got and How To Get A UK Tech Nation Exceptional Talent Visa Endorsement” that post will give some run down about who I am, why I wanted to get endorsed, my struggles and challenges getting endorsed, my advice and more. Its super helpful. So, according to Tech Nation (formerly Tech City UK), The Tech Nation Visa “enables the brightest and best tech talent from around the world to come and work in the UK digital technology sector, contributing their cutting-edge expertise, creativity and innovation to maintaining the UK’s position at the forefront of the global digital economy”.
Yes, it is an initiative by the UK Government that aims to attract and retain exceptionally talented people in different fields of life to come work and live in the UK. I really like how the Visa welcomes people with both emerging skills and experiences and people who are already established as leaders and a force to reckon with within their field.
The Visa’s name can be very scary “world leading exceptional talent” (I was scared when I first saw this Visa scheme – I thought there was no way I could be endorsed or even the Visa) but if you go through the guide and document, you might be able to get endorsed.
Gathering Your Documents.
To enter the UK as an Exceptional Talent Migrant, you must either be established as a leader in the field of digital technology (Exceptional Talent) or demonstrate the potential to become a leader in the field of digital technology (Exceptional Promise) and the way to prove this is through DOCUMENTS or EVIDENCES as Tech Nation puts it. You will need to go into your archive, go through your works, your past works, your previous employments, your previous study times, some side projects you’ve done, some third-party endorsements you’ve gotten, that time you mentored people through your articles or videos and didn’t know you were laying bricks to your future and more!
There is no limit to how deep within your professional life you can go because the stronger your evidence / document is – the better chance you have of getting endorsed. One thing that I found out when preparing my documents is that there are some things you might have done in the past that you might have overlooked as being “normal” – those things might be useful to make use of as part of your supporting documents.
I remember working with a friend of mine based in Morocco, he brought an idea to create a digital technology startup within the real estate niche for Morocco and said he would love for me to come on board and be the Tech Co-founder for the idea. Being someone I had worked with in the past, I jumped on it and we both built the startup! Something crazy happened. During the launch of that startup, there was a Digital Technology startup competition going on in Morocco at that time which encompasses all Arab digital startups.
I believe the competition was called ArabNet and they were going to give the winner of the best digital startup about $50,000 cash in funding, mentorship, trip to Dubia or so and some other interesting perks. My co-founder applied for this competition and out of thousands of other startups that applied, our digital startup was chosen as a Top 10 finalist. Being picked as a top 10 finalist in an international startup competition like that was crazy.
We didn’t win the competition but being picked as a top 10 finalist and being able to network with leading experts and thought leaders in the Digital Technology scene in Arab was something of value to the startup. When all that buzz was over, I thought “yeah! that was a good exposure and experience” but when I was gathering documents for my endorsement for the #TechNationVisa, I remembered the whole ArabNet experience and how I could use that as a supporting document and boom! I used it, I believe that really sky-rocketed my application because a digital startup I co-founded got recognition and endorsement from a third-party international body as relevant as Tech Nation, UK in Arab.
That’s something I wouldn’t have thought of including in my application. So, when gathering documents – I believe it’s very important to go deeeeeep into what you’ve done in your past years and see how those things can be used to make your application stronger. FUN FACT: When I was applying in 2017, there were only 200 spots available for Tech applicants per year but as of September 2017 to the date of this post being published, it has doubled! That’s right, doubled! So, it means that people applying now have a much better chance of getting endorsed than I and others who applied before the increase were.
So, please take your time, spend ample time going through your whole career and highlight the highs of your career (no matter how small they may seem) and see how you can fit that into your supporting documents.
Exceptional Talent or Promise?
This is a very interesting question and actually a very important one as well. The choice you make to either apply under Exceptional Talent or Exceptional Promise will either make or mar your application.
Applicants who apply under Exceptional Promise are often individuals who are at the start of their careers in digital technology and may not have the same levels of experience as someone endorsed for Exceptional Talent. These applicants believe that they can demonstrate the potential to be a leader in digital technology through their skills and/or achievements.
For example; You can apply under “Exceptional Promise” because it sounds like you don’t need to show stronger documents compared to Exceptional Talent and you might not get endorsed because you have a lot of years of experience in the field according to your CV and personal statement and you should have more to show for it. Therefore, you might be told that you cannot be endorsed under exceptional promise.
Or you might think you are so confident in your documents that you apply under exceptional talent and your application doesn’t become successful because you were not able to show significant things that a “world leading exceptional talent” should be able to show. It’s a catch 22. But my personal advice would be this – If you have over 15 years experience in your field, my personal opinion would be that your level of experience would be too much to apply under exceptional promise. Also, if you are a still young and fresh in the field, I would advice you apply under exceptional promise except of-course you’ve founded a million dollar startup or a billion dollar one like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or…you get the gist. Its all down to you to make your decision based on your personal judgment.
How Do You Start?
That’s a very important question. There are two stages to getting the Visa (remember, the Visa can be up to 5years and you can apply for settlement after your 5 years – so, the hassle is going to be worth it). The first stage is called “The Endorsement” stage and the second stage is “The Visa Application Stage” I know that majority of the people reading this blogpost might already know about the Visa Scheme and would most likely already have the official Tech Nation PDF guide, so, I will try not to repeat what you already know or can get access to.
The first stage will be to apply to the Home Office so they can have your information and data. This stage doesn’t involve any document submission – it’s basically an online application form to let the UK Government know you are about to apply for the Exceptional Talent Visa and when you’ve filled the application form (which can be found here “Tier 1 Exceptional Talent” ), the Home Office will inform Tech Nation of your application. Then, you should apply to Tech Nation.
The exact link to do this can be found on the Tech Nation website or The official PDF guide they provide. You should take your time filling out the details on this form, even though you can save and return to it – be sure the information entered are all valid and checks out. There is a section in the documents where you will have to enter your card details so that you can be charged the endorsement review fee – ensure you enter a valid card and also ensure there is enough money on that account so that your application is not delayed due to payment failure.
When you’ve submitted your application, you will have to print out the form and attach your supporting documents which will then be sent to the home office address which as of the writing of this post is Tier 1 Exceptional Talent, Sheffield, PO Box 3468, S3 8WA, United Kingdom.
I remember the day I sent my application, I cannot forget that day in a hurry. I gathered all of my print-outs and headed to a DHL center some distance away from my Aunt’s house. I looked at the Home office address letter for letter while entering it to the package delivery information to avoid it being sent to the wrong address. I was so excited and nervous about sending it out that I gave the DHL attendant a ₦1000 tip just so she could handle and send the documents without hiccups.
Even though my first application wasn’t successful – I really enjoyed that first process of sending my documents from Nigeria to the UK. It was a good feeling If I could take so much precautions during my first submission which ended up not being successful, can you imagine the amount of extra precautions I took in my next submission? You guessed right – A LOT! When your application touches down the UK, Tech Nation’s panel of independent experts will assess your application to decide if it meets the criteria.
If you meet their criteria, you will get an email with YOUR ENDORSEMENT LETTER! I got mine on MAY 23 2017! Just one day after my birthday, I was sooooooooo excited! I remember going through the email and my hands shaking and me looking for the line that said I was endorsed or not. I ran downstairs and told my Aunt who was heavily pregnant at that time and she jumped for joy on my behalf. It was a very good day and as I write this post, I am feeling very emotional as to how that decision has made my life evolve and set me on a good path.
This is why I take time out of my busy schedule to create articles, videos, guides and reply numerous emails I get from people who are thinking of applying or are in the process of applying. I wish everyone applying the very best. Be sure to checkout my other articles and videos about the #TechNationVisa
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