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Global talent visas no longer endorsed by Tech Nation
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This week Tech Nation announced that it will cease operation on 31 March 2023 after the government terminated its grant funding. Tech Nation has spent the last decade embedding and scaling up the tech ecosystem, simultaneously bringing thousands of people to the UK to work in the industry.
Tech Nation has focused on accelerating scaleup growth in the UK, with scaleups creating over 90% of all UK tech jobs, driving investment, productivity improvements, export and regional success. It says that “there continues to be no single organisation which focuses on tech scaleups as Tech Nation does… While 80% of startups fail within their first 2-5 years, over 95% of startups on Tech Nation’s accelerator programs have gone on to scale.”
In September 2022, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport awarded a 12 million pound to Barclays Bank instead. This Digital Growth Grant was established to support the UK’s digital tech sector, grow regional support networks, and help scaleup businesses in order to advance the UK’s agenda of becoming a global startup hub.
Eagle Labs, a tech branch of Barclays has currently been awarded the grant for a period of two years, having worked with start ups across the UK for a number of years. However, it will not be taking over Tech Nation’s role of administering the global talent visa. So what now?
The end of Tech Nation’s role in administering the global talent visa leaves many in limbo. One of the main issues for those currently applying or who are in the UK on a global talent visa is the link that is needed between endorsement and application.
You can read more about applying for a global talent visa here but, in short, you need endorsement from a Home Office approved endorsing body (like Tech Nation was) before you make your application. You have a period of three months from receiving your endorsement to make your application. It is unclear whether individuals will be left in limbo, having applied for endorsement, or their visa, but without a decision before Tech Nation closes its doors in March.
For those in the tech sector looking to enter the UK to build and upscale business in the UK, uncertainty prevails. It is currently unclear who will take over the global talent visa endorsement in the tech sector and therefore the prospect of businesses growing to their full potential in the UK throughout 2023 is unlikely. Applications may halt until uncertainty subsides, which means that new visas will not be granted for a significant period of time. Perhaps this is ample time for companies to look to grow their businesses elsewhere.
It is unclear what is next for the global talent visa in the tech sector, or what impact the change will have on the tech industry and economy in the UK. Awarding the grant from to Barclays Bank instead of Tech Nation may indicate the direction that the government is looking to grow global talent in the tech sector moving forwards; moving towards fintech instead.