Tech Nation, A Home Office-approved endorsement body will cease trading and leaves digital tech applicants to the UK Global Talent Visa with an uncertain future.
The non-profit organization that has been instrumental in supporting the UK tech sector for over a decade, announced that it will be ceasing operations on March 31, 2023, due to the UK government’s decision to withdraw its grant funding.
It has played a significant role in fostering the growth of some of the UK’s bigest tech companies, including Monzo, Revolut, Ocado, Skyscanner, and Deliveroo, and has also been a key player in attracting talented tech workers to the UK through the Global Talent visa scheme.
The UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) recently decided to award £12 million of grant funding, which Tech Nation relied on, to Barclays bank. The bank’s tech incubator, Eagle Labs, will use the funding, awarded as part of a two-year contract, to launch new programs aimed at supporting tech businesses.
However, with the government’s decision to withdraw the grant funding, Tech Nation confirmed that it will not be able to continue its operations and will initiate a carefully planned wind-down process. The closure of Tech Nation has raised concerns about the future of the Global Talent visa for those who wish to apply in the digital technology field.
What is the Global Talent visa?
The Global Talent visa is a bespoke immigration route that was launched in February 2020, replacing the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route. The visa is designed to attract the brightest and best talent from around the world, with a focus on highly skilled individuals with specialist skills that can contribute to the UK’s knowledge, economy, and society. The visa route leads to settlement in the UK after three to five years, depending on the applicant’s circumstances, and does not require a job offer to apply.
Currently, the Global Talent visa is open to applicants in the fields of academia or research, arts and culture, and digital technology. Most applicants are required to obtain an endorsement from a recognised endorsement body to prove that they are leaders or have the potential to be leaders in their field, except in cases where they have won an eligible prestigious award. Tech Nation was the only endorsing body responsible for verifying the expertise of applicants in the digital technology field.
The Home Office has been informed of Tech Nation’s plans to cease operations and has confirmed that the Global Talent visa program will continue as normal in the interim period. However, Barclays, the recipient of the government grant funding, will not be taking over any visa administrative responsibilities, and the Home Office has not yet identified a new endorsing body for the digital technology field.
As a result, applicants in this field are advised to apply for the Global Talent visa as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.