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Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa Refusal; Apply for Review or Apply Afresh?

When Your Application Is Refused, Should You Apply for Review or Apply Afresh

The Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa allows skilled professionals from around the world to come work, live and create in the UK. This visa is very precious because of the amount of freedom you get to have when you are on it, because of this though – the process to getting the visa is not “an easy task”.

You will need to prove that you are an “Exceptional Talent” in your field. The fields that are currently being endorsed for this visa are

I was endorsed under the Digital Technology industry by Tech Nation and since have been endorsed, I have made it a point of duty to create content around the Visa in order to help other people who might be looking to get endorsed get information to questions they might have.

The interesting thing is that during my first attempt and application, I wasn’t successful. This is the type of letter you would get if your application isn’t successful:

The letter is longer than this, I just cut out the most important part. For privacy, I also blurred out my personal information.

Receiving this letter will break your heart, at least my heart got broken when I received mine. You start to look back at the work and effort it took you to gather the documents, the personal statement you wrote, how much the application fee and everything in between.

Besides this letter of decision, you will also get a letter called “Endorsement Proforma” which is a break down (feedback) on why your application was not successful and their advice on what you could have done to make your application a success. This document is very important, instead of looking at it as a letter of failure, look at it as a letter of feedback – Feedback on what you could have done to make your application stronger an examples of documents that could have helped your application.

After feeling bad for some minutes or maybe an hour, I went back to the drawing board and used their feedback as fire to submit a new application! I started preparing a new application instantly because I was back in Nigerian and wanted to move to the UK ASAP! (Side story; I had to leave the UK to Nigeria after my student visa expired and just like everyone else who has lived in the UK, you always want to come back and make this your home after tasting the quality of life) 

So, the BIG question is:

Should you apply for Review or Create a New Application?

I will be straightforward with this, my answer is to APPLY FOR A NEW APPLICATION, don’t waste your time applying for a review! Why do I say this? Well, I believe that the reviewer’s board have spent up to 8 weeks accessing your documents and claim to being an exceptional talent/promise and they have done their due diligence in accessing if you truly fit the description or not. In my opinion, they are experienced and professional and if your documents/evidences match what the UK is looking for, you will get endorsed.

Also, they go the extra mile of creating a separate document explaining why they came to the decision of why your documents / evidences was not satisfactory enough to warrant you being endorsed as an exceptional talent.

Am I saying that the reviewers are perfect? Absolutely not, no one is perfect! I have heard some cases where applicants whose applications were refused claimed that their refusal was based on the reviewers using the wrong criterias to judge their application. For example, their application being judged as an “Exceptional Talent” even though they applied under the “Exceptional Promise” route.

Another case I have heard is where an applicant with a failed application says that they did not access his application based on the criteria he opted in for. For example, let’s say he chose to pick this criteria “Have made significant technical, commercial, or entrepreneurial contributions in the digital technology sector as either a founder or entrepreneur of a digital technology company” as one of the ones he will be showing documents and evidence for, the reviewers reviewed and judged his application using this criteria “Provide two or more examples of exceptional ability in the field by making academic contributions through research endorsed by a research supervisor or other expert”, which wasn’t what he provided documents for. In situations like this, my advice would be to apply for a review because the reviewers clearly came to a decision on his application based on a criteria he didn’t provide documents for.

In most cases, the application will be refused because the person’s documents and evidence was not strong enough to prove and convince the reviewers that the applicant is indeed an exceptional talent / promise. They will explicitly tell you in your endorsement performa letter why they’ve come to that decision.

An Endorsement Review request must be made within 28 days from the date you received the letter of refusal. The endorsement reviewer(s) will complete their review and notify you in writing of their decision within 28 days from the date of receipt of the Endorsement Review request form. You can only ask for a review once!

How Should You Re-Apply?

The exact steps I used in re-applying was to use the letter of refusal a.k.a failure letter as feedback. I mapped out their comment on my documents and profile and then outlined points they made about what they would have loved to see and things I could have shown. I then make use of this outline and map to create a new application and add new documents touching on the key aspects they advised on.

The goal here is to remove any emotional attachment with your previous application. Just like you, when I was preparing and submitting the documents to my first application, I thought it was so perfect and I felt confident that I would be endorsed but that wasn’t the case. It would be stupid of me to use the exact same documents again to re-apply, instead I used some of them but added some much more stronger ones in line with the feedback gotten.

Because I was so desperate to return back to the UK and because I knew deep down that the exceptional talent Visa is for me and I do have the skill, experience and documents to show for it, gathering the new documents didn’t take me that long. If I remember correctly, I was able to gather everything under one week or less.

My mindset behind applying afresh rather than applying for a review is because I know that the board of reviewers have done their due diligence in accessing my application, there is no point trying to go back and forth with them on why I think they are wrong in their decision and why I am right. Instead of using energy to do that, why not channel it into a fresh application and let my creative juice flow in picking new documents that will make my new application successful?

Another thing that might be helpful is to apply as an Exceptional Promise rather than Exceptional Talent if you noticed that their reason for disapproval was because your profile and skill is not strong enough to be endorsed as an exceptional talent.

When my decision letter for my second application came, I got endorsed! Guess what? My endorsement letter / email came one day after my freaking birthday! I remember how excited I was, I jumped from my chair and went to the living room to tell everyone!!!!!!!! I couldn’t hold the joy! It was one of the best days of my life till date.

Below is the type of email and letter you will get when your application is successful:

successful applicants for tech nation exceptional talent visa

So, in my humble opinion! Use your energy and time well and wise! Get stronger documents, evidences and seek help from a successful applicant if you have access to one. Please try have someone review your documents before you send them off again and be positive minded.

All the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tags : tech city tier 1 exceptional talenttier 1 exceptional talent examplestier 1 exceptional talent reviews
Daniel Damilola Nejo

The author Daniel Damilola Nejo

Daniel Damilola Nejo is a Nigerian born, London based Creative Designer and Content Creator with love for the hustle and community. He has a Masters in Business Information Systems Management and is Endorsed by the UK Government as a "World Leading Exceptional Talent in Digital Technology" . He is a true hustler and a forward thinking individual who uses his knowledge and skill to add value to lives around the world. He works with startups, businesses and individuals around the world as a digital designer and brand developer. Founder of some Digital startups and brands.
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