Fintech focused 'Exceptional Talent' applicant - but am I eligible?

Hi TN Visa Forum,

Firstly, thanks for reading. I’m considering my suitability for the Tech Nation ‘Exceptional Talent’ visa and would sincerely appreciate any feedback or advice that forum members could share.

I’ve read the TN Guide end-to-end, watched the relevant YouTube videos and spent hours in this forum - but I still have questions and would love your help.

Some background on my experience and circumstances:

  • Currently working for a major Australian bank in technology division
  • Solely focused on digital product development & innovation in financial technology (fintech) in day-to-day role
  • Same employer for last 14 years
  • Mid to senior level employee, leading product proposition development, partnership development & commercials, business case development, vendor assessments and oversight of solution design and delivery - including various technology / engineering disciplines
  • Digital products I’m involved in focus on applying emerging technologies, including blockchain technologies (various), artificial intelligence, APIs (internal, external), mobile, web & cloud technologies
  • Working relationships with broad network in fintech in Australia and globally
  • References from senior members of Australian banking and fintech industry available
  • Lead an internal innovation community of ~450 staff with monthly meetings

What I’m not:

  • A developer or engineer
  • A data scientist or AI model developer
  • A consultant (internal or external)

Where I’d love you feedback / thoughts:

  1. Despite working solely in fintech, tech innovation and digital product development, at the end of the day, I work for a bank. In the experience of forum members, is this likely to immediately disqualify me?
  2. Based on the above, would this be regarded as a ‘corporate’ role?

Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated. This is something that my family and I have been considering for a long time

I think the best way people can help you is if you put together a list of documents you would use and associate each of them to the mandatory criteria and two of the optional criteria. Rejection reasoning is always given in the context of each criteria.

Reading around you’ll find that is the format most people use to get feedback in this forum.

I would also encourage you to think of things you have done outside of your day to day work (e.g. have you spoken at conferences? Mentored others as part of a structures established program outside of work? won relevant awards?)


Hi @yeshellohi,

Thanks for the initial feedback and guidance.

I’ve drawn some thoughts together below on the MC and OC as suggested.

Mandatory Criteria
Recognition as leading talent in the digital technology sector in the last 5 years

  1. Led product development, design and technology delivery for a new home ownership focused mobile application for the bank (evidence: press / news article, reference letter)
  2. Led the setup of a physical fintech collaboration space, supporting the bank and external startup partner staff to co-build new digital products (e.g. fintechs, innovation partners) (evidence: reference letter)
  3. Board member for an external not-for-profit organisation (not digital technology focused), supporting the management team with technology strategic planning, partnerships and delivery (evidence: reference letter)

Optional Criteria - Category #1
Proven record of innovation as an employee working on a new digital field or concept

  • Co-led strategy, product development, product design & technology solution design for the bank to trial and experiment with blockchain and tokenisation technologies - including industry collaborations and submissions to government on proposed industry regulation (evidence: reference letter)

Optional Criteria - Category #3
Made significant commercial contributions as an employee of a product-led digital technology company

  1. Directly supported decision-making for investments in fintech companies by the bank’s corporate venture capital arm, working with the General Partners (evidence: reference letter)
  2. Acted as primary representative for the bank in an industry consortium focused on the development of a new, commercialised digital identity scheme (B2B model) for national use (evidence: reference letter)

To answer your questions re outside day-to-day work:

  • External speaking: Heavily restricted at my organisation to control press, comms
  • Mentoring: Multiple mentoring arrangements at fintech events, including being a judge for startup pitches at major accelerators - but hard to evidence now (or over five years ago)
  • Awards: Nothing worthy of mention

Any thoughts on the above would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Who writes this reference letter? Is it someone in your own company? (If it is, then that doesn’t carry much weight). I don’t think a reference letter is enough to prove innovation, specially for Exceptional Talent and considering you didn’t start this company yourself. Perhaps there is some externally verifiable publication calling the product “innovative” and mentioning you by name? For context, OC1 is one of the stricter criteria.

You might actually be able to put this into OC2 (assuming this is not something you do as part of your normal course of work duties but in addition to them).

I think overall your application needs work, considering the criteria you chose are hard to prove with the evidences you provided, particularly OC1. If you can get more substantial proof of innovation, then you might be able to use OC1 and OC3. Another option would be to put the evidences in OC3 as OC2 (as furthering the field outside of the normal course of work duties) and then your OC1 evidence in OC3. But that is still thin on evidence, specially considering you have 14 years experience all in the same company.

Can you prove associated traction through revenue or other metrics? Since you are not a developer or engineer (you would be counted as a business applicant), the reviewers will expect metrics like revenue as evidence, etc. A reviewer would also expect things like speaking at conferences, publications, etc for a business applicant.

Unrelated to the above, but I imagine with your profile, you could try finding a job offer in London with sponsorship under a Tier 2 work visa, and that might be easier. Have you considered that instead?

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