Demand for Tech Nation Global Talent Visa Soars

  • Data
  • 31.08.2021 01:48 pm

The Tech Nation Global Talent Visa reaches a milestone of 4,000 applications 

  • Demand for the Global Talent Visa has increased by 28% between April’19 – March’20 (pre-pandemic) and April’20 – March’21.
  • The number of applications for the visa has hit a milestone of 4,000 since 2014 – with a third (35%) of these coming through in the last 12 months.
  • Over a third (39%) of all endorsed visa applicants have based themselves outside London.
  • The number of endorsed applications from founders has grown by 73% on average every year since 2018.
  • Cybersecurity, fintech and healthtech have experienced the highest increase in the number of applications since 2018.

Tech Nation, the UK’s scaleup experts, reveals new data on the Tech Nation Global Talent Visa, providing insights into the global talent pool working in the UK’s digital technology sector.

Tech Nation has been designated by the Home Office to endorse applications for the Global Talent Visa since 2014, enabling the best and brightest talent from around the world to come and work in the UK’s digital technology sector. The Tech Nation Global Talent Visa has received over 4,000 applications from 102 countries – with a third (35%) of these coming through in the last 12 months (July’20 - August’21) and 58% through in the last 24 months (July’19 - August’21).

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, repeated lockdowns, and travel restrictions in the last 18 months, the UK is still a magnet for global talent – with a 28% increase in applications from the period of April’19 - March’20, pre-pandemic, to April’20 - March’21. 

This talent is helping to drive the growth of tech across the UK, and over a third (39%) of visa applicants endorsed by Tech Nation decide to base themselves outside London - including Edinburgh, Newcastle, Cambridge, Oxford, Leeds, and Manchester.

Surge in founder applicants

The Global Talent Visa is open to both highly skilled tech employees and tech founders. The number of founders applying for the Visa scheme has grown by 74% on average every year since 2018, with over 600 tech founders now having been endorsed by Tech Nation. Founders bring new ideas, drive capital creation, and create employment opportunities within the UK tech sector. This is reflected in recent data released by Tech Nation analysing the UK’s decacorns (tech companies with valuations at $10bn and above) - across the UK’s 7 newest decacorns (created in 2021), 6 founders are from outside of the UK, hailing from Israel, Estonia, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, and the US. 

Strong growth in applications across key sectors

2021 has seen large increases in applicants across key sectors, with a 172% increase in the number of endorsed applicants in cybersecurity since 2018, 75% increase in applicants with a fintech background, and double (+117%) the number of applicants coming through with a healthtech background. The visa scheme plays a key role in supporting skilled international tech talent to drive the growth of the UK’s tech sector. Across all applicants, App & Software Development, AI and Machine Learning, and Enterprise Software are the most common skills. 

Gerard Grech, Founding CEO of Tech Nation, comments: The UK is a global powerhouse for tech, not only due to our world-class ideas and innovation, but our world-class talent too. Tech Nation’s Global Talent Visa is just one of the many reasons the UK is such an attractive hub for ambitious and inspiring tech entrepreneurs, and will help ensure the UK remains one of the best destinations to start and scale a tech business in the months and years to come.”

Two founders who have used the visa are Gilbert Corrales who founded Newcastle-based Leaf, and Anita Koimur who co-founded FinTech LiveFlow. 

Gilbert Corrales, Founder and CEO of Leaf Grow, comments: Being a Tech Nation Global Talent Visa holder has helped to give me and my co-founders the time, space and access to the network required to scale our business here in the UK. We have also benefited from the route to attract and retain some of our key international talent as we grow."

Anita Koimur, COO and Co-founder of LiveFlow, comments: “Securing the Talent Visa allowed me to continue living in the UK and empowered me to co-found a B2B SaaS company that was backed by Y Combinator and Seedcamp. This opportunity has enabled me to move forward professionally so it's something I am very grateful for.”

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