On 31 January 2023, Tech Nation, the endorsing body for digital technology applicants under the Global Talent Visa category, announced that it will cease operations on 31 March 2023. The planned closure follows the announcement that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) were handing the £12.1 million Digital Growth Grant contract – designed to help small and scaling tech businesses across the UK – to Barclays Eagle Labs. This was funding Tech Nation had relied on to run multiple UK tech initiatives and their Tech Nation Visa programme. With this funding removed, Tech Nation are unable to continue operations.
Tech Nation's closure has come as a great concern to those in the process of applying for the Tech Nation Visa. The endorsement process requires detailed reference letters, a personal statement and 10 supporting documents – so there will be people out there who have dedicated a lot of time and effort into preparing their application.
In this note we outline what we know and what we expect to happen post 31 March 2023.
What we know – status quo until at least 31 March 2023?
Tech Nation has said that they will no longer manage the endorsement process for new Global Talent applicants from 1 April 2023. However, a new endorsing body for the digital technology applicants has yet to be confirmed. Barclays Eagle Labs will not take up responsibility for administering the Global Talent endorsement process for digital technology applicants.
It is, however, generally accepted that Tech Nation will continue the processing of Global Talent Endorsement applications up to and possibly even beyond 31 March 2023.
The Home Office says:
‘We are working closely with Tech Nation to ensure applications for the Global Talent route are unaffected during this period, whilst we explore the long-term changes necessary so the UK can continue to benefit from the brightest and best living and working here.’
The closure will not adversely affect those currently holding endorsements when an application for an extension or settlement is to be made. The Home Office has confirmed that they:
'… will take all available steps to ensure that applicants already part of the Global Talent route are not disadvantaged by the closure of Tech Nation. Applicants are not required to obtain a further endorsement for either an extension or settlement.'
For those considering making an application for endorsement as a tech applicant under the Global Talent category, it should now be safe to assume that any application submitted before 31 March will be assessed in accordance with the current Tech Nation Visa criteria.
This doesn't leave would-be applicants much time, but if you have been considering making an endorsement application, it may be a case of the better the devil you know. The criteria for endorsement post-31 March are a complete unknown for now.
If you are looking for assistance with your Tech Nation Visa application, John Kiely has a wealth of experience with the category. Please contact John.Kiely@HowardKennedy to secure a complimentary 15-minute consultation.