Should you apply for the Tech Nation Global Talent Visa?

5 Mins

As international technology recruiters, with a strong footprint (and two offices) in Europe,...

As international technology recruiters, with a strong footprint (and two offices) in Europe, Sentinel has a vested interest in access to international talent. More than that, we believe that the enterprise technology industry can only benefit from collaborative working, across borders. Technology is perhaps the most global industry in that businesses around the world are tackling similar issues, and often need similar tools and skillsets (albeit in different combinations).

In the wake of Britain’s official departure from the European Union, much has changed, seemingly overnight. In the months ahead we will all grapple with what these changes mean for us and our businesses. One significant change to come from Brexit is of course the end of free movement. Citizens of member states of the European Union are able to live and work in any European Union country as though they were citizens, without need for Visas. A privilege that the UK will no longer extend to EU nationals. While EU citizens living and working in the UK before 31st December 2020 are entitled to continue doing so, future EU professionals will require a visa.

Anyone who is not a citizen of the UK or Ireland will need a visa to work in the UK. The government have set out the points based visa system criteria which provides a route for anyone to live and work in the UK with employer sponsorship. Naturally, the question remains, is there a way for people to move to the UK without a job offer? In short, the answer is yes, but the UK government has put the focus for immigration squarely on professional contribution. For those hoping to work in the UK without sponsorship, there are a few options available, but in all cases the bar is set high.

One such route is the Global Talent visa, open to people working in academia or research, arts and culture or digital technology. Each industry has one or more appointed body able to endorse applicants before they apply to the visa. route for those who consider themselves to be “a leader or a potential leader”, according to This visa route takes the place of the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa.

Tech Nation describes the Visa as enabling “the brightest and best tech talent from around the world to come and work in the UK’s digital technology sector”. The visa is open to founders and employees with technical or business backgrounds (this includes all sub-sectors of tech) and is valid for up to 5 years, with unlimited renewals and the possibility of visas for family members. While the bar of being an “exceptional talent” may feel high, applicants should be reassured by the fact there are no limits on the number of Global Talent visas available.

If you know a move to the UK is something you want for your technology career, now or in the future, it’s a great idea to get to know the criteria and begin pursuing the kinds of accolades they will be looking for. Broadly, you need evidence of your innovation and contribution to digital technology so published articles, research and awards will all help your application.

Below we’ve answered some of the key questions you may have about the Global Talent Tech Nation Visa. You can also read the full guide to the visa here, or get in touch to discuss your options for a tech career in the UK.

How many The Nation Global Talent Visas are available?

The visas are unlimited and are at the discretion of the endorsing body and the department of Visas.

Are there different kinds of Tech Nation Visa?

You can apply under two routes, either as a Leader (the exceptional talent path) or as an Emerging leader (exceptional promise) for those with less than 5 years’ experience.

What is the criteria for the Tech Nation Visa?

Applications are judged by an independent panel of experts against the eligibility criteria which includes:

Exceptional talent

Demonstrate that you’ve been recognised as a leading talent in digital tech.


Provide evidence of 2 of the following:

  • track record for innovation as a founder or senior exec of a product-led digital tech company or employee in a new digital field.
  • Recognition for work beyond occupation which contributes to the field.
  • Significant technical, commercial or entrepreneurial contributions to the field through your role in a product-led digital tech company.
  • Academic contributions through published research or research endorsed by an expert.

Exceptional Promise

Demonstrate you’ve been recognised as having potential to be a leading talent


Provide at least 2 of the following:

  • 2 examples of innovation.
  • 2 examples of academic contributions or research.
  • proof of recognition of work beyond your occupation.
  • evidence you’ve made significant contributions to the field.
How do I apply for the Tech Nation Global Talent Visa?

Apply for your Tech Nation endorsement via and then complete a Tech Nation Visa application form. These should be submitted within 15 days of each other.

If your application is successful and you get endorsement you apply for your visa directly on the website within 3 months.

What documents do I need to apply?

Completed Tech Nation Visa application

100 word Personal Statement (included in the application)

CV with career and publication history (max 3 pages)

Three letters of recommendation from expert organisations in digital technology

Up to 10 pieces of evidence to support your eligibility criteria \9each 3 pages max)

How long will it take for my application to be processed?

Stage 1: Application for Endorsement – up to 8 weeks to be processed.

Stage 2: Application for Visa – up to 3 weeks out of country and 8 weeks in country.

There is also a fast track which sees applications processed in 3 weeks. This is open only to current or future participants of one of the recognised UK accelerator programmes:

Zinc, Wayra Techstars London accelerator, start-up bootcamp, SETsquares scale-up programme, NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator, Microsoft for Startups, Ignite, Founders Factory, Founders academy, Entrepreneur First, Cylon, Creative Destruction Lab, Collider, Bethnal Green Ventures, Barclays Accelerator, and Antler.

Sentinel are recruitment people for IT with offices in the UK, Czech Republic and Switzerland. If you are considering your options to pursue your technology career internationally we are well placed to support you. Register with us to be kept up to date on international and remote vacancies across all areas of technology. Or get in touch to discuss your options today.