At the end of January 2023, Tech Nation, one of the main approved Global Talent Visa endorsing bodies, announced its intention to cease operations on 31st March 2023. In a more recent announcement, however, Tech Nation confirmed that they have now become part of the ‘Founders Forum Group’. Crucially, this means that they will continue to handle the endorsement of digital technology Global Talent Visa applicants until a long-term plan has been put in place by the Home Office
On 31st January 2023, Tech Nation announced its intention to cease operations at the end of March 2023:
“After a decade as a government-backed organisation serving the UK scaleup tech ecosystem, we are today announcing that Tech Nation will be closing its doors from 31st March 2023. Tech Nation’s core grant funding from DCMS is being awarded to Barclays Bank. With this foundation removed, Tech Nation’s remaining activities are not viable on a standalone basis”.
Understandably, this caused considerable uncertainty and frustration for stakeholders within the UK’s start-up business sector and also applicants and holders of Global Talent visas with digital technology expertise.
A statement on the Tech Nation website on 24th April 2023 confirmed that the organisation has now been acquired by the Founders Forum Group (FF Group):
“Founders Forum Group (FF Group), a global community and group of businesses supporting entrepreneurs at every stage of their journeys, has formally acquired Tech Nation. The transfer will see FF Group continue to execute against Tech Nation’s mission to empower tech entrepreneurs, scale innovative start-ups, and provide a united platform for UK tech founders.
The statement also confirmed that Tech Nation, now as part of the FF Group, will continue to handle Global Talent visa applicant endorsements until a new endorsing body is confirmed:
“Tech Nation, under the FF Group umbrella, will continue to process the Global Talent Visa for the Home Office, and applicants can continue to apply as normal with applications in process unaffected, while the Home Office identifies a new endorsing body to take over from Tech Nation”.
The Home Office also reconfirmed its commitment to the future of the UK’s digital technology sector and thanked Tech Nation for their efforts since 2014 in shaping the Global Talent visa:
“We’re committed to maintaining a strong digital technology offer as part of the Global Talent visa, and we’ll try to minimise disruption to those applying. We’ll provide a further update in the coming weeks….We thank Tech Nation for their valuable work on the Global Talent visa and their willingness to continue to work with government as we start the next phase of the Global Talent visa for digital technology”.
The Founder Forum Group is an international community that encourages the collaboration of entrepreneurs to help businesses to grow. As the group’s website states, “Founders Forum Group is a global community and group of businesses, empowering entrepreneurs at every stage of their journeys”. The organisation started in 2005 in London and now has 40 forums in 20 cities worldwide, including LA, Rio de Janeiro and Tel Aviv, Mumbai, Paris and Hong Kong.
According to the Home Office website, the acquisition of Tech Nation by the Founder Forum Group means that:
The Home Office is still reviewing the situation and is yet to make a long-term decision on the endorsement of Global Talent visa digital technology applicants. The news that Global Talent visa applications digital technology applications can continue while a long-term endorsing body decision has been made will come as a welcome relief to visa holders and prospective applicants. As ever, we will keep you updated when we know more.
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