4 alternatives to the Tech Nation visa for African tech talents

February 2, 2023
4 min read
Image of Nigerian passport on a laptop

A random Internet search about people's reactions to the news of Tech Nation's imminent shutdown points to the fact that the organisation has pioneered several initiatives that have impacted lives across several continents, especially its visa programs. The news was received with sadness.

The UK's Global Talent Visa program enables migrants to work in any sector within specific endorsement categories in the UK. To clarify, tech talent can only access this program through Tech Nation's recommendation, which is one of its six recognized endorsement organisations. This highlights the potential bottleneck if new backers are not gotten after March 31, 2023, when applications will no longer be accepted.

The visa is valid for one to five years and can be renewed/extended indefinitely (leading to permanent residency) if certain requirements are met, including the endorsing organization not withdrawing and proof of earning income during the stay.

Fun Fact: Over the last decade, Tech Nation has endorsed more than 3,000 individuals from 94 countries worldwide. Nigeria is one of the countries with the highest representation in its alumni, along with India and Russia.

Different countries have various ways of attracting manpower into them. Many of these countries often face a shortage of willing workers and thus welcome immigrants to fill these roles. Others simply do it for economic or diversity reasons.

Although there are similar visas to the Global Talent Visa available globally, especially in migration hotspots, the following countries have provisions for digital technology talent, innovators, and investors.

Global Talent Stream (Canada)  

The Global Talent Stream program in Canada was created to attract highly-skilled foreign workers to the country and help Canadian companies acquire the skills they need. The Stream is part of Canada's larger Express Entry immigration system.

If successful, it can lead to permanent residency after meeting certain criteria. The program specifically focuses on tech jobs and provides Canadian tech companies access to top talent from around the world, including innovators, founders, cybersecurity experts, web developers, web designers, data scientists, software engineers, etc.

Like the UK's Global Talent Visa, the Global Talent Stream has a list of designated partners, such as TECHNATION and the Council of Canadian Innovators, that refer candidates (companies in this case). However, unlike the Global Talent Visa, individuals cannot directly apply for this program. They must first be offered a job by a Canadian employer who can demonstrate a need for their skills, and they must have relevant qualifications or experience. The application will also be done by the employer under either of two categories.

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US Founder Visa

This is a non-immigrant visa for individuals who can demonstrate extraordinary ability or achievements in their field. It is also known as the 0-1 Visa and is a three-year temporary work visa, which can be renewed in one-year increments.

Although information about the visa indicates that it is for exceptional individuals in the fields of science, arts, education, business, or athletics, tech talents and entrepreneurs can also take advantage of it. Usually, eligibility is determined by meeting at least three of eight requirements, including membership in prestigious groups, awards, and national/international recognition, among others.

Founders who have successfully graduated from a prestigious accelerator or have venture-backed startups are also more likely to have higher possibilities. This visa is also open to talent occupying core and adjacent tech roles, from software engineers to product designers. For more information, you can follow this link.

Global Talent Program (Australia) 

The Global Talent Program in Australia is launched to attract highly-skilled foreign workers to the country to help Australian companies get the skills they need. This program has a focus on critical skill sectors, including fintech, healthtech, and agritech, and requires candidates to have relevant tech skills and the ability to earn above the Fair Work high-income threshold of AUD162,000.

The program allows individuals to self-sponsor or be sponsored by an Australian employer. To be considered eligible, they must be assessed and recommended by one of the approved endorsing bodies in Australia. After spending at least three to four years in the country with this visa, individuals can apply for permanent residency and citizenship.

More information can be found here

Global Impact Visa (New Zealand) 

The government of New Zealand created the Global Impact Visa (GIV) to bring in high-impact entrepreneurs and innovators to grow its tech sector. The 3-year work visa is designed for individuals who intend to come to New Zealand to establish and run a tech business or enterprise.

To be eligible, applicants must have a high level of expertise and a strong track record of innovation. Meanwhile, the success and track record of the venture they start will determine if they can renew or apply for permanent residency. The GIV is also open to investors who are willing to support it. The GIV was launched in 2019, but the last cohort accepted was in 2020. The only endorsing body for the GIV is the Edmund Hillary Fellowship (EHF), and there is currently no timeline for accepting new entries.

Find more information here.

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Human enthusiast | Writer | Senior reporter | Podcaster. Find me on Twitter @Nifemeah.
Human enthusiast | Writer | Senior reporter | Podcaster. Find me on Twitter @Nifemeah.
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Human enthusiast | Writer | Senior reporter | Podcaster. Find me on Twitter @Nifemeah.

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