Have you acquired marketable tech skills that can contribute to the UK’s economy? If yes, you can leverage the new UK visas designed for international talents. The UK government is launching new routes that’ll make it easier for businesses to employ foreign talents. This is in its bid to make the country a global hub for innovation in the nearest future.
While these new visas are open to various talents and fields, their scope shows tech experts will be the biggest beneficiaries. Already, you can live and work in Britain as a leader in digital technology via the existing Global Talent visa route. The new visas include the High Potential Individual visa and Scale-up visa. There have also been some major reforms to the Innovator visa. Below is an overview of these visas:
1. High Potential Individual Visa
Looking for an unsponsored and fast route to the UK? You can apply for the High Potential Individual Visa. Although the visa is highly competitive with relatively stringent criteria, it is worth it for those who meet the requirements. You must be a top global university graduate before you can apply. Also, you must be a recent graduate (within the past 5 years).
A top global university, in this context, is any university that appears on the UK Home Office Global Universities List. This list is compiled annually but will likely contain similar universities as other renowned ranking lists like the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities.
In addition, you must demonstrate proficiency in English unless you’re a native English speaker or your degree was taught in English. Since this visa doesn’t require a sponsorship licence, you must show you can financially support your stay. With the High Potential Individual visa, you can come to the UK and work in a self-employed position. You can also work an employed job, but you don’t need one for the visa application.
How long you can stay depends on your degree. Ph.D. or other doctoral graduates can stay in the UK for up to 3 years. Bachelor’s or master’s degree holders can stay for 2 years. The High Potential Individual visa is set to launch in early May.
2. Scale-Up Visa
The scale-up visa aims to boost scale-up businesses in the UK. It allows these firms to easily hire scale-up workers from foreign countries. To qualify for this visa, you must have the required skills to help your employer grow. Hence, you’ll need a highly skilled job offer with a minimum salary rate.
The Scale-up visa is primarily a sponsored route and mandates a sponsorship licence. Your employer will apply for a sponsor licence and, if approved, issue you a Certificate of Sponsorship before you can apply for the visa.
To qualify as a Scale-up sponsor, an employer must show proof of annual growth of at least 20% in terms of turnover or staff in the past 3 years. They must also have had at least 10 employees at the start of the 3 years. Only those who have previously gotten the Scale-up visa can apply without sponsorship.
Furthermore, you’ll need to prove proficiency in English and have enough funds to support your stay. The latter is exempt if your employer agrees – and states in the Certificate of Sponsorship – to support your stay.
This visa leads to settlement in the UK – indefinite leave to remain. Also, you can bring dependents (spouse, children under 18, civil partner, and unmarried partner if you’ve lived together for at least 2 years). The Scale-up visa is set to launch in late August.
3. Innovator Visa
This visa is for you if you have an innovative tech idea – different from anything else in the tech market. Before you apply, you must get an endorsement from an approved endorsing body. You can find a list of potential endorsers on the Home Office website.
Aside from having an innovative idea, you must have a minimum of £50,000 in investment funds with proof of how you got the funding from. This is key for getting an endorsement. If the endorsing body approves your “innovative idea,” they’ll issue you an endorsement letter.
Other requirements include proficiency in English and that you have enough personal savings to support your stay – at least £1,270 in your bank account for 28 consecutive days before your application.