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Creative, pioneering and the finest: Digital Technology – Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

25 February 2019 #Immigration #Inward Investment


The best tech talent from around the world can come to the UK on a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa; maintaining the UK’s position in being ahead of the global digital economy.  The UK has a renowned digital technology reputation, and this is largely attributed to the great digital technology specialists we have in the UK.

A lot of digital tech specialists do not believe that the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa is a viable route for them as it may appear daunting. Terms such as exceptional talent or exceptional promise may be discouraging as it seems only a handful of specialists make it through. However, this route may be suitable for many without them even realising. If you fit into the criteria below, then you would be eligible to apply. The key part of the application is providing sufficient evidence in order to obtain an endorsement. This endorsement must be from a ‘designated body’. The Designated Competent Body (DCB) for the digital technology sector is Tech Nation.

The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route is a two-staged application. The first stage requires an application for an endorsement by Tech Nation and if granted, the second stage is to apply for the visa. 

Your application for an endorsement will be assessed by a panel of independent experts in the Tech field. An applicant is required to demonstrate proven commercial or technical expertise in management of exploitation of a technology stack to meet the criteria used by Tech Nation. Tech Nation assesses the technical and business skills of applicant before they are able to endorse them.

Exceptional Talent v Exceptional Promise

There are two categories of endorsements (you must specify on the application form which one you are applying under): 

  • Exceptional Talent - proven to be an exceptional leader
  • Exceptional Promise – proven to be an emerging leader (suitable for those who are in the early stages of their career). 

Exceptional Talent

If you are applying under the Exceptional Talent category, then you must meet at least one of the key and two of the qualifying criteria: 

Key:

  • Have a proven track record of innovation in the digital technology sector as a director/founder of a digital technology sector company or an employee working in a new digital field or concept that must be clearly evidenced (e.g. patent application).
  • Proof of recognition for work outside your immediate occupation that has contributed to the advancement of the sector (e.g. evidence that you have gone beyond your day to day profession to engage in an activity that contributes to the advancement of the sector.

Qualifying:

  • Have made significant technical, commercial, or entrepreneurial contributions in the digital technology sector as either a founder, entrepreneur or employee of a digital technology company.
  • Have been recognised as a leading talent in the digital technology sector.
  • Have undergone continuous learning/mastery of new digital skills (commercial or technical) throughout your career.
  • Have demonstrated exceptional ability in the field by making academic contributions through research published or otherwise endorsed by a research supervisor or other expert.

Exceptional Promise

If you are applying under Exceptional Promise category, then you must meet at least one of the key and two of the qualifying criteria: 

Key:

  • Provide two or more examples of innovation in the digital technology sector as a founder of a digital technology sector company or an employee working in a new digital field or concept that must be clearly evidenced (e.g. patent application).
  • Proof of recognition for work outside your immediate occupation that has contributed to the advancement of the sector (e.g. evidence that you have gone beyond your day to day profession to engage in an activity that contributes to the advancement of the sector). 

Qualifying:

  • Have made significant technical, commercial, or entrepreneurial contributions in the digital technology sector as either a founder or entrepreneur of a digital technology company.
  • Have been recognised as having the potential to be a leading talent in the digital technology sector.
  • Have undergone continuous learning/mastery of new digital skills (commercial or technical) throughout your career.
  • Provide two or more examples of exceptional ability in the field by making academic contributions through research endorsed by a research supervisor or other expert. 

Tech Nation will then advise the Home Office of their decision, and the Home Office will then notify the applicant. If your application is unsuccessful then you have can apply for a review or submit a new application including further evidence.

Once you have an endorsement letter then you must apply for your visa within 3 months from when you receive the letter.  

Settlement

  • If you are on the exceptional talent route, then you can apply for settlement after 3 years.
  • If you are on the exceptional promise route, then you can apply for settlement after 5 years.

Benefits

  • You can change employers at any time without the need to inform the Home Office.
  • You can be self-employed or employed (even as a director of a company).
  • There is a faster route to settlement (if exceptional talent).
  • You can bring dependents to the UK with you.
  • You have flexibility and autonomy as you are not dependent on a Sponsor.
  • You can travel abroad and return to the UK.
Clarkslegal, specialist Immigration lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Immigration matter please contact Clarkslegal's immigration team by email at immigration@clarkslegal.com by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
Disclaimer
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

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Bhavneeta Limbachia

Bhavneeta Limbachia
Solicitor

E: blimbachia@clarkslegal.com
T: 020 7539 8019
M: 0777 581 5811

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