New Visa Scheme for Digital Technology Talents coming to the UK! - | Hudson McKenzie

New Visa Scheme for Digital Technology Talents coming to the UK!

The Tech City UK, a designated endorsing body for the Digital Technology category under the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa scheme, has recently announced the new Tech Nation Visa Scheme, which provides more flexibility to the current route of the Tier 1 (ET) Visa.

What is the Tech Nation Visa Scheme?

The procedures to apply for the visa remain the same. Any applicant should first submit an Application for Endorsement for Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa form, the Tech City UK Application Form and supporting documents. The Tech City UK will then review the application, and notify the Home Office if it decides to endorse the application. The Home Office will then notify the applicant. After receiving the endorsement email, the applicant can send his Visa Application to the Home Office together with the endorsement reference.

Together with the current criteria for this category, Tech City UK will endorse a wider spectrum of applicants with the introduction of some new criteria under the scheme.

  • Building UK Scale-ups: The scheme will provide a scale-up fast-track route for talent needed to scale up businesses, including the expertise in taking a company IPO, or those with very specific technical knowledge.
  • Recognising ‘Exceptional Promise’: Application from individuals outside the EU with aspiring talents will be considered.
  • Powering the Northern Powerhouse: Fast-track application procedures will be made available in seven cities under the Tech North Remit (Hull, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield and Sunderland)
  • Recruiting Teams from Overseas: Up to 5 applications can be submitted at once for consideration starting from 12 November 2015, so that talent and collaboration from working teams can be brought into the industry.


The new scheme will allow a broader spectrum of applicants to be qualified under the route of Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent). From past statistics, the number of visas granted under Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) in 2011 was only 7. The scheme could be a response to the small number of successful applicants of the route. The reason behind may be the high bar of the criteria, or the less stringent criteria of other tiers. The new scheme seems to be a direct response to the issue. However, there could be some potential problems in practice.

First, there is no clear guidance as to what constitutes ‘aspiring talents’. How can the potentials of talent be measured or standardised? It will be rather arbitrary and subjective for Tech City UK to decide on such cases. Even so, the standard will definitely be loosened compared to the current criteria.

Second, the recent trend of limiting number of immigrants under other visa tiers seems to run contrary to the idea of the expanding scheme. The government has been imposing more limitations on different visa tiers, such as the right to work for people on student visas. It seems that the general policy is to enforce stricter criteria for people wishing to immigrate to the UK. Therefore, the actual outcome of the scheme is not easy to assess at this moment because of the politics that may come into play. Yet, with the annual quota of 200 for the Digital Technology sector, it is quite certain that the increase will not be significant.

If you are running a business in the Digital Technology sector and want to recruit leading talents from outside the EU, please feel free to consult a member of our UK immigration team on 020 3553 7711 or email at