An Administrative Review overturned Tech Nations decision to refuse endorsement

Our client is the co-founder of a start-up dealing with online banking. His business provides new and innovative ways of using online banking. His company is yet to be public and therefore, financial projections and details are confidential.

Our client applied via the Global Talent Visa route selecting Optional Criteria 1 (a proven track record for innovation as a founder or senior executive of a product-led digital technology company or as an employee working on a new digital field or concept) and Optional Criteria 3 (have made significant technical, commercial or entrepreneurial contributions to the field as a founder, senior executive, board member or employee of a product-led digital technology company).

Our client’s Application was initially refused a Global Talent Visa and the reasons for refusal of endorsement were as follows:

  1. The Applicant’s start-up is based on a technology that is in the market for quite a few years and therefore, cannot be considered as innovative.
  2. Although the company has recently raised investment, no information was provided about the company’s financial performance so far.
  3. The Applicant provided 3 very brief letters of recommendation; none offer any independent opinion about him. The 3 letters are very similar in format and content, and they do not address how the Applicant meets the requirements for this visa.

We advised our client to submit an administrative review with the following submissions:

  1. The technology used by our client’s start-up has been around for several years. However, our client made this technology accessible to new users and his company is one of the few using this technology for this purpose. Innovative businesses may use a known technology, but the innovative part is how they use it and for which purpose.
  2. A company may evaluate its success by its active users rather than revenue and this was submitted with the original application. As the company is not yet public, our client chose to submit evidence which is public knowledge.
  3. As for the Letter of Recommendation, there is no guidance as to the length of the letter only as to which points these must cover, as follows:

“Three letters of recommendation from three different well-established organisations acknowledged as experts in the digital technology field.

Each person who writes a letter for you must:

  • Be a senior member of their organisation
  • Know your work

 Each letter must:

  • Be about your Global Talent application – you cannot use a letter that was written for another reason
  • Say how the person knows you
  • Show your achievements in the digital technology sector, and how you are a leader or potential leader
  • Say how you would benefit from living in the UK
  • Say how you would contribute to the digital technology field in the UK
  • Explain what plans you have for work in the future”

 Therefore, 3 writers who will follow the Tech Nation guidance will have a very similar structure but different content. In addition, there is no requirement as to length of the letter or to offer an independent opinion about an Applicant. There are no better people to know an applicant than, for example, co-founders, investors and colleagues.

The decision to refuse the endorsement was overturned and consequently, our client received Leave to Remain as Global Talent. Another successful outcome!

For further information on the issues raised, please contact Efrat Shemesh at:

Branch Austin McCormick LLP
32 St James’s Street