Tech Nation will continue providing endorsements for the Global Talent visa scheme until a replacement is found, the government has confirmed.
The startup network ceased operations at the end of March after losing its primary revenue stream, which came via a DCMS government grant, to Barclays Eagle Labs in an open tender process.
Although Tech Nation has now passed the last day of its operations, it will continue to oversee Global Talent visa applications “until further notice” to minimise disruption to the service.
Interested parties are therefore still able to continue their applications through the Tech Nation website until a new endorsing body takes over.
The Global Talent visa was launched in 2020 to encourage international tech workers to live in and contribute to the UK.
Tech Nation has been in charge of assessing applications since the programme’s launch, and has been the endorsing body for the visa’s predecessor since 2014. The startup support network has processed over 6,000 Global Talent visa applications and made over 3,000 endorsements.
The future of the scheme, which is seen as vital to the government’s science and tech superpower ambitions, was thrown into question after Tech Nation’s shutdown. Barclays Eagle Labs did not take on the visa endorsement role, which comes through a contract with the Home Office that is separate to the Digital Growth Grant.
The Home Office has been working with Tech Nation to minimise any disruptions to applications. UKTN understands that the government had spent the last month searching for a replacement ahead of Tech Nation winding down.
Industry sources told UKTN that they believe the government was caught off guard by Tech Nation’s decision to close down following the funding loss.
A spokesperson for the Home Office said it was exploring the “long-term changes necessary so the UK can continue to benefit from the brightest and best living and working here”.
An update is expected in the coming weeks. Founders Forum Group is currently in talks to acquire the Tech Nation brand.