Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa in the field of digital technology is a good alternative to the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. The visa requirements are focused on the applicants skills, experience and achievements. The Exceptional Talent visa does not require any investment funds and the government visa fees are significantly lower than the ones for the Entrepreneur visa.
The criteria are designed for applicants with the technical or business skills in digital technology. The examples of technical skills are: DevOps/SysOps engineers, principal software engineers/developers, experienced data scientists/data engineers, cybersecurity experts, experienced UX/UI designers, experienced Mobile App developers, virtual and augmented reality developers. The examples of business skills are: experience of taking a tech company through IPO, experience as a commercial / business lead (P&L, growth, sales and distribution strategy) in a digital business, experience of scaling a digital product internationally, sector-specific experience e.g. payment infrastructure in FinTech / international expansion in EdTech, solution sales experts, experience as C Suite in a SMEs + (CEO, CMO, CIO) or head of operations for a digital business. The lists of both technical and business skills are non-exhaustive.
The process for obtaining the Exceptional Talent visa consists of two stages: stage 1 – obtaining an endorsement from the Tech Nation and stage 2 – applying for the Exceptional Talent visa based on the endorsement. There are two options for applicants applying for endorsement by the Tech Nation: Exceptional Talent and Exceptional Promise. The Exceptional Talent is for those who have a track record in digital technology and are world leaders in their field. The Exceptional Promise is for those who can provide examples of achievements in the field of digital technology and demonstrate their potential to become world leaders in the future.
The applicants for both Exceptional Talent and Exceptional Promise endorsement are required to submit two recommendation letters from eminent experts in their field. In addition, they also need to submit their CV and provide 10 supporting documents in total to evidence the Exceptional Talent or Exceptional Promise criteria. Each document must be no more than double sided A4 page. Longer documents must be either summarised or compressed. It is important to consider in detail all available documents and then select 10 strongest documents.
The Exceptional Talent/Exceptional Promise visa has a number of advantages over the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. The visa holders can work for any employer/change employers in the UK or can run their own business. They are not limited to work/self employment at the business(es) that they establish, take over or join. The visa does lead to settlement in the UK. Those with the Exceptional Talent endorsement can settle after 3 years residence and those with the Exceptional Promise can settle after 5 years residence. The accelerated 3 years route to settlement is only available to the Main Applicant. Their dependant spouse and children require 5 years residence to qualify for settlement.
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