Feedback Request for TN Evidence

Hello, I am in the process of gathering evidence for the Global Talent visa and would greatly appreciate some feedback. I am a front-end developer with about 5 years experience working in both non-profits as well as product-led companies. I do not have public speaking or article writing experience (although I am in the process of submitting an application to write an article for an online publication); I do however have hackathon experience participating in a national hackathon where my team and I won one of the top 3 awards. Because I do not have writing or speaking experience I am leaning more towards the Exceptional Promise route as I feel that I would qualify for that more than Talent but I’m not sure if that will be possible due to me having 5 years experience. The Tech Nation guidelines states:

Exceptional promise applicants are likely to have less than 5 years of experience

This tells me that having 5 years of experience may not be a non-starter since the wording they used was “less likely”. This coupled with the fact that the guide uses “The past 5 years” to refer to evidence for the Exceptional Promise path. Please see my evidence below, any guidance on this would be much appreciated.

Letters of recommendation:

  1. LOR from the Director of Digital from one of my previous jobs.
  2. LOR from the manager of the software development team from my previous job.
  3. LOR from the Director of Front-End Development at my current company.

Mandatory Criteria:

  1. Hackathon participation and award.
  2. Employment contract with salary and bonus information. Also includes salary comparison for my home country as well as the UK.
  3. Evidence showing I was listed as a “creative professional” in the creative credits.

Optional Criteria 1 (Innovation):

  1. Employment contract from innovative company where I lead the development of innovative credentialing tools for the US Department of Defense.
  2. Reference letter from the projects manager and head of innovation for the US Navy Credentialing Programs.
  3. Multiple news articles showing the tools I worked on were innovative. These include articles from US Military publications where they use words like “innovative” and “ground breaking”.

Optional Criteria 3 (Impact):

  1. Reference letter from the head of innovation and strategy outlining the impact I made during my time working with her on the innovative projects at my previous job.
  2. Data showing the drastic increase in users (over 200%!) as a result of me leading the development of a complete re-build/re-design of our flagship product, along with the company-wide integration of Google Analytics 4 and improved analytics reports.

The guide states that

Please note the following specialisms are generally not considered suitable

  • Service Delivery, Process Delivery, Outsourcing, Consultancy (technical or management), ERP Consultancy, Systems Admin and all related fields.

This may exclude your OC1 evidence

Hi @hsafra, I’m not sure what you mean. The company used as evidence for OC 1 is not a consultancy or outsourcing firm. Could you please elaborate?

@DylanD The evidence in OC1 reads as an outsourcing project done by your employers for the US DoD.
Tech Nation don’t generally approve such work to be submitted as evidence.

Another section reads:

[This excludes general consultancies, outsourcing and technology-related consultancy groups focused on process/service delivery or solutions/systems architecture. Such firms do not meet the guidelines, particularly those primarily serving large corporate or multinational corporate (MNC) customers.
Work at specific agencies may be considered if the agencies are extremely focused on product innovation in a specific industry and are well-recognized for their contributions to that industry.]

You need to be able to explain how your employer was a product led digital company and wasn’t just contracted for the work

@hsafra it is my understanding (and I may be wrong), that outsourcing is company A using company B to take on work usually done by a department in company A as a cost savings measure. Contracting on the other hand is one entity seeking a company to complete work that could otherwise not be done “in house”. iIn my case my company was awarded a long term multi year contract with the US DoD to build these tools which could otherwise not be built within the DoD as they do not have a department that builds such tools.

@Francisca_Chiedu I would love to get your input as well! It seems that there is a distinction between outsourcing and a company being awarded a long term multi year contract, I would just need to adequately explain this to Tech Nation. In my case my company was not outsourced. I would be interested to hear your opinion on this matter as well as opinions related to the other evidences provided. Thanks!

That may work. But you’ll need to explain this carefully so it doesn’t show as consultancy / outsourcing work.

The line between outsourcing and contracting isn’t clear cut, you can contract for project even if you have the internal competency to do it, you can outsource staff to augment your internal team and more options.

Got it. Any feedback on the other evidence provided? Thanks!

@Francisca_Chiedu @May

MC1: Is that an internal company hackathon or an external one? How many participants did it have?
MC3: is this something published or internal? TN don’t like company awards by themselves

MC1: The hackathon was an external hackathon where my team won one of the top prizes. There were 54 participants who signed up but more ended up joining on as volunteers as the hackathon progressed.

MC3: This was an internal company shout out in the yearly financial report. My name was mentioned due to the work I did which lead to a 13% increase in revenue. The increase in revenue can be corroborated by the first LOR listed. Also, not sure if this helps at all but the company that mentioned me as a “creative professional” is a global company so my mention was seen my people internationally.

I’d lean on that - 13% revenue increase is notable. Do you have more evidence to show it? Then add the “creative professional” quote.

Yes, one of the LOR mentions the increase in revenue and I also have screenshots of financial comparisons showing an increase.

All of the recommendations below are my personal experience, and based on 10+ proformas I’ve read over the past few months. Whether to rely on it is entirely up to you to decide.

General information

You really need to carefully explain why your company is a product-led company. For example, show that your product is replicable. That is, although the customer is the Ministry of Defence, the product is used at many sites, in different infrastructures. Also, the product does not require deep processing for placement at the next site. This indirectly confirms the property of development as a product.

Letters of recommendation
Letters of recommendation from former employers only can be seen as irrelevant to the MC criterion as they do not allow the TN to judge broader leadership recognition. It is better if one of the letters is from a recognised expert who was met e.g. at a conference etc.

A letter of recommendation from a current employer may only be suitable if he/she is not your immediate supervisor. In this case, you need to carefully describe that this is an industry leader first and foremost, not a colleague.

Mandatory Criteria

  1. Above you say that 54 people participated in the hackathon. That’s not a lot of people at all. You need to explain why there are few participants. For example, this can be done through the narrow specificity of the tasks, mentioning that you can’t just get into this hackathon, etc. - in general, to show its importance
  2. TN does not take salary as evidence, unless it is impressively high relative to the average market in the country. For example, if your salary is 2.5-3 times higher than the market average and you can prove it with a link and screenshot to official statistics, it can support your MC. If your salary is 20-30% higher, I wouldn’t include that as proof.
  3. it’s good evidence, but it’s important that you have 2-3 proofs of your contribution to to this. For example, referrers as well as the manager of the current company talk about it. If you can find 1 more referrer, I recommend confirming these facts with a 1-page letter from the supervisor, attach it right into the evidences.

Optional Criteria 1 (Innovation):
You need to not only provide evidence, but also prove in 2-3 ways that you are the leader of these developments, and also explain the essence of these developments to the assessor as simply as possible, so that the subjective opinion coincides with your narrative. This is very important in this criterion, as innovativeness is a subjective concept, especially if there are no patents.

Optional Criteria 3 (Impact):
Lately, TN wants to see public confirmation of contributions. Apparently there are cases of people being deceived about their contribution. Try to organise this at least on your company’s corporate website. If you have time to wait 3 months before submitting, offer to write a company article about your product in one of the respected thematic publications, ask them to mention your name. This will be a public endorsement.

I appreciate the feedback! A few things I wanted to touch on:


the product is used at many sites, in different infrastructures

I am able to show that the product has been used for other institutions with minimal changes. The product in question was modfied to be used for Dallas College. Example from company website:

The groundbreaking cloud-based MilGears application is being modified for use by Dallas College to provide users with the ability to explore credentials, occupations, and specific job opportunities related to their entire portfolio of skills and experience.


  1. “Letters of recommendation from former employers only can be seen as irrelevant to the MC criterion as they do not allow the TN to judge broader leadership recognition. It is better if one of the letters is from a recognized expert who was met e.g. at a conference etc.”

How would this be possible? The TN guidance states:

Three letters of recommendation from three different well-established individuals acknowledged as experts in the digital technology field, with detailed knowledge of your work over a period of 12 months or more.

Meeting someone once at a conference does not meet the criteria of the the person knowing my work over a 12 month period. Also, all of my letters are from people who are not my direct supervisor, they are all one or two levels above my position. They are also highly regarded as experts in their fields/positions at the respective companies.

  1. Regarding salary, my salary is approx. 43% higher than the average for my country for the same position, I believe this should be enough of a difference to use this as evidence. Please correct me if that is not the case.

  2. I will be including financial comparison and I will also try to get one more letter from an executive at the company.

For this criteria I have reference letters as well as an employment contract. Do you have any suggestions besides that on how I could prove I was the one responsible for the innovative developments?

Unfortunately I no longer work at this company so adding something to the website is not an option. Nor is writing an article unfortunately since the publications the project would apply to are for military officials which I am not. For this criteria I am mainly focusing on reference letters as well as an article with analytics data showing the increase in users. This along with one of LORs mentioning that I was responsible for the site re-design as well as improving the company’s analytics which led to the increase in users. I will also include proof of promotion and bonuses.

Again I appreciate the feedback, keep it coming!

  1. My comment here isn’t based on a guide, it’s based on my experience reading proformas. I agree with you that the contact at the conference does not seem logical. But there are rejections where all references are only from employers. TN writes that it doesn’t allow them to judge leadership. For example, I’ve had contacts from conferences that then developed into partnerships or had the background to do so. Therefore, the recommenders knew the job for 12 months. However, if you emphasize the referee’s leadership in the industry, maybe that will offset the risk.
  2. Hard to say. It’s up to your discretion here.
  3. ok, numbers are important. You can also explain indirectly why the average employee can’t do it.

An article about a product, for example, referenced by someone from a referee or CEO, would be good here
Try adding an explanation to the evidence that you can’t provide external validation because of the specifics of the projects you worked on (min. of defense).

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Experience from reading Proformas, actually beats following the guide, in terms of what is considered relevant evidence. I made the same mistake of following the guide word for word, and got a rejection. @igortsk is spot on.

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