Sponsored By

Tech Nation's logo

The UK network for ambitious entrepreneurs

https://technation.io/

\Startup Life Interview/

A 5-year UK tech visa for EU citizens

As of January, the Tech Nation Visa will enable tech talent from the EU to work in the UK for up to five years.

By Sifted

Some good news amid all the gloom: the UK might be waving adieu to the EU at the start of next year, but the UK’s tech scene will be welcoming EU citizens with open arms

From January next year, the Tech Nation Visa will be opening up applications to exceptional tech talent from the EU hoping to work in the UK for up to five years. That’s the longest working visa on offer in Europe — and recipients can even bring their family along too. 

Since the visa launched in 2014, it has processed over 3,000 applications and helped investors, software engineers, strategists, designers and entrepreneurs bring their skills and expertise to the UK. The visa has two pathways — one for people already established in their fields and another for people earlier in their careers — and isn’t tied to a particular employer, meaning visa holders can move between roles, or even start their own companies. 

But what impact has this international talent had on the UK tech ecosystem? And what skills are companies looking for now and in the years ahead? 

To explore those questions, Tech Nation is hosting an online event this Thursday November 19. (Sign up here.) The team will also share the findings from their new Tech Nation Visa Report.

As for what it’s like to actually receive a Tech Nation Visa — and why global talent remains interested in working in the UK — we speak to some previous recipients.

“I decided to come to the UK because of the strong support system in place for people who are looking to start a business, or to contribute to cutting-edge research.”

Tech Nation Visa

Ogechi Onuoha

Originally from Nigeria, Ogechi Onuoha is a software and machine learning engineer currently working at the University of Glasgow. She’s interested in creating technical solutions based on academic research, and is passionate about emerging African markets. She received the Tech Nation Visa at the beginning of 2017, and has been living and working in the UK ever since.

“I decided to come to the UK because of the strong support system in place for people who are looking to start a business, or to contribute to cutting-edge research in areas like machine learning and computer vision. I also wanted to be in an environment that is rife with opportunities for obtaining the investment to support my entrepreneurial goals and aspirations. Finally, some of the top universities in the world are in the UK. Being here makes it possible to attend public lectures, workshops and even conferences where I can meet and speak to leaders in technology in person.

“You can find opportunities to be part of an early-stage business that’s building world-changing technology.”

“The UK tech scene is growing fast, with multiple exits and IPOs having taken place recently. This progressively upward trend makes the UK a great place for anyone looking for an opportunity to start and/or grow a business. Having strong technical skills is appreciated here, and you can find opportunities to be part of an early-stage business that’s building world-changing technology.

 “Throughout my time in the UK, I’ve learned that, with the right mindset, team and opportunity, anything you put your mind to is possible. Being located in the right place can help you find the right team and opportunity, so I don’t take that for granted.

“If you’re thinking of applying for the Tech Nation Visa, I would say go for it! The visa unlocks your capacity to do more and removes the restrictions and limitations you would have under other visa schemes. It allows talented people to pursue their dreams and aspirations. It’s also very prestigious and has opened multiple doors for me.”

Tech Nation Visa

Melisa Lenero

Melisa Lenero is a translational designer, entrepreneur and business strategist from Mexico. Having co-founded and led four companies to date, her experience spans different industries; from design and technology, to arts and science. She received the Tech Nation Visa at the end of 2018.

“For me, the UK is an innovation-driven hub, where people from different backgrounds, new tech and creativity converge, creating state-of-the-art initiatives. As an entrepreneur myself, I wanted to study a Master’s without losing sight of the creative and tech scene; therefore, London was the place to go. I chose to study a Master’s in Global Innovation Design; a joint programme between The Royal College of Art and Imperial College London. It was a relatively new course with a multidisciplinary approach, the only one of its kind. After graduation, this vibrant city charmed me until I decided to stay.

“I think the UK startup scene is completely unique — and it definitely starts with its people. Diversity is the backbone of the UK’s ecosystem, plus its massive pool of talented people building and testing new tech.”

“There are plenty of schemes to bridge the gap for investment, connecting small startups with well-known investors.”

“There’s inspiration everywhere; you are surrounded by innovation, creativity and emerging tech. Besides the countless events, accelerators and coworking spaces to attend, which helps if you are going through the challenging, and sometimes quite lonely, startup path, there are plenty of schemes to bridge the gap for investment, connecting small startups with well-known investors.

“There are plenty of opportunities in the UK. I believe there is a lot of support from different stakeholders — from government, institutions, private organisations and academia — to help individuals thrive. However, you have to know how to navigate your way through it all, and be very savvy to seize these opportunities.

“If you’re thinking of applying for the Tech Nation Visa, I would say don’t hesitate — do it. The journey is going to be challenging, though; from understanding the nuances of language and tricky immigration definitions, to the process itself. But you won’t be alone, there are around 1,500+ endorsements already given, and you can ask the Tech Nation Visa Alumni for guidance. “

 “The Tech Nation Visa is one of the best visa schemes that exists in the UK; the government has many initiatives to keep the UK at the forefront of innovation.”

Tech Nation Visa

Carlos Samame

Originally from Peru, Carlos Samame received the Tech Nation Visa in 2019. Having built up his entrepreneurial experience starting, scaling and selling his own business, he now works with startups to help them scale by looking at commercial options, and looks for innovative and disruptive startups to invest in as an angel investor.

 “Living in the UK has always been one of my dreams because of the maturity of the startup ecosystem. The UK tech scene has some of the brightest tech talent. It attracts the right people and leverages the diversity that they bring. The capacity to attract investment creates this serendipity zone where anything is possible.

“There are so many lessons that I have learned by moving to the UK; but the one that sticks in my mind is that stepping out of your comfort zone is not easy, but if you are resilient enough, it often turns out to be the magic zone.

 “The Tech Nation Visa is one of the best visa schemes that exists in the UK; the government has many initiatives to keep the UK at the forefront of innovation. So, if you’re thinking about it, don’t hesitate in applying, it’s one of the best communities I have been part of.”

 Join Tech Nation on November 19 for the launch of the Tech Nation Visa Report, to see data about global talent in the UK, explore the opportunities UK tech has to offer, learn more about the skills profile of successful visa applicants and hear from high-profile experts in the tech sector. Register here.

Sponsored By

Tech Nation's logo

The UK network for ambitious entrepreneurs

https://technation.io/

1
Join the conversation

avatar
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Kamlesh Mishra
Kamlesh Mishra

I am interested in the visa. Can someone let me know what is the process and fees.