The tech sector is booming in the UK. The Exceptional Digital Talent visa was introduced in April 2014 to attract world-leading recognised experts within the digital and tech industry to the UK.
The visa has a number of advantages: no UK sponsor or investment funds are required; there is also no English language requirement; and once the visa is granted, the visa holders can work for any employer, be self-employed or start their own business. An applicant does, however, need a Tech City endorsement.
Tech City is encouraging applications for endorsement and can issue up to 200 each year. However, so far this visa has not been popular and during the period from April 2014 to April 2015 Tech City received only 10 applications. 9 of these have been approved. The percentage of successful applications is therefore very high, especially compared to the Tier 1 Entrepreneurapproval rate.
To receive Tech City endorsement, applicants must:
- Be currently engaged professionally as directors, founders or employees of a digital technology sector company;
- Have a proven record of innovation in the digital technology sector;
- Provide a recommendation from a recognised UK based expert; and
- Meet two of the ‘Qualifying Criteria’ out of the following:
- Have led development of “new or leading edge” technology;
- Have had significant commercial success in the sector;
- Have received or been nominated for a “prestigious internationally recognised prize” in the field; or
- “Have been recognised as a world leading talent” in the Tech sector.
Despite the high threshold for the Exceptional Talent visa, the numerous advantages of this visa type and the availability of endorsements in our view make it an option worth considering.