By Sanwar Ali
There was a fourty-five percent increase in the number of applications for endorsement for the UK Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visas submitted to Tech Nation, who deal with applications for the digital technology industry. However, the number of endorsements granted by Tech Nation one of the Endorsing Bodies is very small. Only about three hundred endorsements were approved for applicants from the Tech Industry in the last year by Tech Nation out of about 650 applications.
Almost half of all Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa applications for endorsement with Tech Nation
Tech Nation said in their recent report that 44 percent of all Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visas were for the Technology sector in the 2018-19 financial year. Tech Nation is one of the five Designated Competent Bodies that deals with applications for endorsement from prospective visa applicants and are the only one that deals with digital technology applications. So presumably receives all or almost all applications for the Tech Sector. While Tech Nation cannot approve UK visa applications if you receive an endorsement it is probably almost certain that you will receive a Tier 1 visa.
Limited number of Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa Endorsements available to Tech Nation.
The Tier 2 visa scheme for employment with an employer with a Tier 2 visa sponsor licence remains the main visa category for skilled migrants from outside the EU. According to Government statistics in 2018 102,653 Tier 2 skilled visas were granted. A significant proportion of these were in the tech sector. In comparison only 2,000 Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visas are available. Therefore, approximately fifty times more people gain entry to the UK as skilled workers on the Tier 2 visa scheme than the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visas scheme. While this is not an exact comparison as many of the visa applicants for both visa categories are not in the Tech Sector, this does show that the Tier 2 visa category is much more popular and much more accessible for those in the IT Industry, than the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa category and the new visa categories.
Margot James, the minister for digital and creative industries, had the following to say:
“The UK continues to attract talent from all around the world. This is thanks to our world-leading academic institutions, strong access to finance and long standing reputation for innovation”. as reasons for the increase.
“Making sure we have the talent and skills so the tech sector can continue its incredible growth, is a priority of our modern industrial strategy,” she went onto say.
Is UK Visa and Immigration and Government Ministers making misleading comments?
The problem with the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa scheme and the new Innovator and Start-Up visa schemes is that it seems that very few people meet the requirements to qualify for these schemes. Even if people do qualify the number of visas available are very limited. Despite the high Government fees, unless there are major changes in the UK visa system, the Tier 2 visa scheme will remain far more popular than the Tech Nation scheme and the other visa schemes for people in the technology industry and others. In reality is the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa category a major achievement?
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