UK global talent visa touted amid Trump US work visa ban


6 November 2018; Farfetch booth during the opening day of Web Summit 2018 at the Altice Arena in Lisbon.

David Fitzgerald/Web Summit via Sportsfile

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Comments by Sanwar Ali:

While obtaining an US work visa such as an H1B visa or L1 visa will take much longer now, obtaining a Global Talent visa is also not necessarily a good option.  IT people need to meet the requirements for Tech Nation and only people who are at the top of their profession or have the potential to be at the top are likely to qualify.  The good news is that there is no quota for the UK Global Talent visa.  It should be noted that when it comes to H1B visas in most cases there is a quota and you cannot start work under October each year.  In many cases people either give up applying for an H1B visa or wait years.

Most migrants who wish to gain a work visa to the UK come under the Tier 2 visa scheme and Tier 2 Sponsor Licence scheme.  However, unless you are earning £159,600 per annum or more you are limited to a ten percent ownership in the business in the UK.  The business in the UK needs to already be trading and there needs to be someone already resident in the UK (perhaps on a part-time basis) with responsibility for the business. 

There is a quota under the Tier 2 General visa scheme for applicants applying from outside the UK.  However, the quota has not been filled for about two years.  There is no quota for applicants who can apply for a Tier 2 visa from within the UK.

The UK tech sector is seemingly attempting to persuade entrepreneurs to consider Britain’s global talent visa as an alternative to a US visa following Trump’s latest immigration restrictions. Tech companies are encouraging businesspeople to start a company in UK cities such as London.

On Monday 22 June, Trump signed an executive order temporarily suspending several US work visa programs until the end of the year, including the L1 visa that enables companies to transfer staff from overseas branches and the H1B visa, reserved for high-skilled workers in specialist fields.

In a Twitter post, tech investor with Balderon Capital, James Wise said: “If you’ve been affected by the ridiculous decision to suspend H1B in the US, take a look at the UK Global Talent Visa.”

UK a Hub for global tech sector

Wise touted the UK as a ‘hub for global tech’, while claiming that the country has more developers and venture capital money than most of the USA’s east coast.

His tweet, which has been retweeted and backed by other venture capitalists, founders and policymakers links to the Tech Nation website, a body designated by the Home Office to endorse applications for the UK global talent visa in digital technology.

Meanwhile, startup business development manager at Amazon Web Services, Richard Howard said: “The UK should be absolutely taking the lead here. It should be an automatic welcome for anyone who qualified for H1B or L1 visa.”

UK firms interested in hiring overseas tech workers

Several UK firms have said they would be interested in hiring people impacted by Trump’s controversial decision.

Co-founder and chief operating officer of carbon offset monitoring platform Sylvera Carbon, Sam Gill, tweeted: “We always have an open door for talented people — no matter where they come from.”

Although the UK tech sector has birthed several multi-billion-dollar companies, it has never created anything one the scale of Apple, Google or Facebook, which are reportedly worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

According to a CNBC report, many UK business leaders believe that luring talent that would typically head to the US is a way to reduce the gap between the tech sectors in each country.

Head of growth at start-up relocation service Jobbatical, Gonzalo Sanchez, said: “Trump’s latest executive order is one of the most important things to happen to European tech in a while.”

European tech sector on upward trajectory

According to data compiled by venture capitalist firm, Atomico, the tech sector in Europe has been on an upward trajectory for the last decade. Data shows that Europe is home to more than 100 companies worth over $1 billion and 6.1 million developers.

Sanchez said that London is Europe’s major hotspot for big tech businesses, but tech hubs are emerging in nations such as France and Estonia.

However, while many UK firms would welcome talent blocked from entering the US, European business leaders have said ‘it’s wiser for entrepreneurs to head to a country that’s in the European Union,’ aiming a thinly veiled dig at the UK’s looming exit from the bloc.

Pro-EU campaigner, Richard Scott tweeted: “Relocating to an EU member state would be the smarter move. Citizenship grants you Freedom of Movement in 27 countries, allowing you and your children to study, work, start a business and retire wherever you like.” can help with Tier 2 Visa Sponsor Licence, Tier 2 Visa and Global Talent visa

If you need help with a Tier 2 visa, or a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, including help with complying with your Tier 2 Sponsor Licence obligations, can help.  We can also help with Global Talent visa applications including help applying for endorsement.

For more information and advice on Tier 2 Sponsor Licences, UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at sends e-mail)