We know that the Global Talent Visa criteria and requirements might seem a bit confusing at first. That's why we decided to explain the difference in the requirements for Talent & Promise candidates and break down the mandatory and optional criteria for you.
The UK Global Talent immigration route for IT specialists is divided into two subcategories — Exceptional Talent and Exceptional Promise.
Exceptional Talent (leader) is a uniquely talented and recognised individual with a track record of achievements in digital technology. Candidates under this category usually hold senior positions and manage large-scale projects within the companies they work for. As a requirement, you will have to demonstrate significant traction within the companies you worked for or founded, or provide evidence of other significant achievements within the field. Talent applicants usually have 5+ years of experience, but it isn't a must.
Exceptional Promise (emerging leader) candidates have the potential to become leading talents in the digital tech industry and contribute to it as future leaders. Exceptional Promise candidates are usually at the early stages of their career (less than 5 years of experience in the field). Still, they should be able to demonstrate some significant achievements and contributions to the tech sector.
No matter the subcategory, the applicant must meet the requirements to show they are talented leaders or have the potential to become one.
Level of evidence
Applicants for both subcategories must meet one mandatory and two optional criteria. While Exceptional Promise candidates can provide at least 1 example of recognition, innovation, significant contribution, outside occupation, and academic proof, Exceptional Talent applicants are required to provide a track record of evidence for the criteria.
If you’re not sure whether you’re a Talent or a Promise, check this blogpost.
Candidates are not required
The Global Talent Visa offers plenty of attractive advantages to endorsees. With that, as a candidate, you're not required to have:
A candidate applying in any of the subcategories has to meet three criteria:
Now let’s take a closer look at each of them.
📌 Immigram recommends:
“Don’t look for specific evidence for each specific criterion. First, list all your projects, achievements, and background, and then choose criteria accordingly. We consider choosing the criteria first and picking documents to fit into these criteria a bad practice. You’re likely to lose some valuable information or miss important documents that you could’ve used in your application bundle.”
The only main criterion is called recognition as a leader.
Recognition as a (potential) leader in the IT industry
Tech Nation defines it as “being recognised as a leader in the digital technology industry.” “Being recognised” means “being watched, followed, listened to.” In other words, to meet the criterion, you have to show how well your experience and contributions are recognised (e.g., your appearances as a speaker at conferences, your interviews with the media, and publications about your product or project).
As proof of your recognition, you can also submit reference letters praising your achievements and work, merged open source contributions, internal company awards, etc. Include supporting data where possible — number of views, downloads, or other metrics.
There are four optional criteria: significant contribution, outside occupation, innovation, and academic contribution. You will need to choose only two of them.
Tech Nation defines it as a “significant contribution to product-led tech companies”. It’s one of the most popular optional criteria among applicants as it’s usually easier to prove. This criterion is a direct way to show the results of the applicant’s work in a company. If there are no traceable results and impact, the chances to obtain the Global Talent Visa won’t be as high.
To meet the criterion, answer a simple question: “What have I done to push my company forward in its market position?” In other words, if we break down the phrase “significant contribution,” “contribution” is some impactful, meaningful, quantifiable project and “significant” is its metrics.
For example, you’ve launched a voice-to-text algorithm. It's a contribution because it’s a project you’ve led. It’s significant because:
💬 Immigram notes:
"The project does not have to be innovative. Tech Nation emphasises that this is a separate criterion.”
Tech Nation defines it as a “track record/examples of innovation in the digital technology industry.” In other words, it’s something new — a new approach, solution, or trend. You can also provide approved or pending patent applications.
To meet the criterion, answer the question: “What novelty did I bring while pushing my company forward?”
💬 Immigram notes:
“Significant contribution and innovation criteria are quite connected. If you choose both of them, you need to show:
- the project (contribution),
- its metrics (significant),
- the reasons it’s new and interesting (innovation),
- how others recognised you for implementing the project (recognition).
One project can prove three criteria: contribution, innovation, and recognition.”
The question you need to answer: “What have I also done to push forward the IT community itself outside my job?”
In other words, this is more about your volunteer experience (e.g., charities, conferences, mentorship, teaching, volunteer IT projects, IT-related blogs, open source contributions, etc.)
💬 Immigram notes:
“To meet the criterion, you can attach everything related to your activities beyond your day-to-day profession. But it has to remain in the digital technology field.”
To fit the criterion, you have to confirm you influenced the IT sector with scientific research. You need to show that you have published academic papers in well-established scientific journals, participated in scientific conferences or congresses, and provide reference letters signed by academic experts.
💬 Immigram notes:
“Academic contribution is an easy criterion to prove if you have a PhD and three peer-reviewed articles published in well-established scientific journals and reference letters signed by academic experts. Without a PhD, it will be much more difficult to prove.”
Scientific work as part of undergraduate or master's studies, including a dissertation, will not qualify as proof for the criterion.
You can learn more about specific examples of evidence for different criteria here.