GT Stage-1 Application got Rejected - Need help to file the appeal

Hello Everyone, especially @Francisca_Chiedu, @alexnk , @Victrr , @alex_james , @Jazeb , @ask4jubad , @Yusuf_Adebanjo , @westside , @Secure_Tobs , @Nacsoft

Hope you all are doing well.

I applied for the Global Talent Visa Stage-1 Tech Nation Endorsement on January 1, 2024. Unfortunately, I received a rejection email on January 15, 2024.

Quick Introduction:

Currently, I have been working for a Fintech company for the past 7.5 years. This company holds the distinction of being the only entity with two licenses from the Central Bank.

During my tenure, I successfully launched a digital technology product in Pakistan that made a significant impact on the lives of over 10 million underprivileged individuals. Additionally, I developed a unique platform that is the first of its kind and does not exist elsewhere.

Furthermore, while working remotely, I also launched two digital technology products in the UK. My association with this UK-based technology company spans over 10 years.

Below are the details of my application:

Question: Are you applying under the eligibility criteria for Exceptional Talent or Exceptional Promise?

Answer: Exceptional Talent

Question: What is the main reason you have chosen to apply for the route of ‘Exceptional Talent’ (rather than Exceptional Promise)?

Answer: Exceptional Promise is for those who have less than 5 years of experience. I have been recognized as a leading talent in the digital technology sector and have invested more than 10 years. I have a proven record for innovation as a senior employee of “three" product-led digital technology companies.

I submitted the following documents:

  1. Personal Statement
  2. C.V
  3. Recommendation Letters (3 Documents)
  4. Mandatory Criteria (4 Documents)
  5. Optional Criteria - OC1 (4 Documents)
  6. Optional Criteria - OC3 (2 Documents)

3(a) RC from the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) of a renowned Digital Bank clearly mentioning that;
- I led the development of a very unique and innovative technology platform.
- How I volunteered my time, energy and expertise to guide the industry.
- How unconventional it was and how it required me extensive research.
- How challenging it was
- And how my skill set can benefit the UK’s digital ecnonomy sector

3(b) RC from the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) of another renowned Digital Bank.
- Described, how I led the initiative from technical inception to design and then development to implementation.
- Described what the platform is.
- Appreciated & Acknowledged my contibution for the impact.
- Appreciated my exceptional skills.
- How I will benefit the UK’s digital ecnonomy.

3(c) RC from the CEO of a UK Based Digital Technology Company for which I had worked (remotely) for around 10 Years and launched two Digital Technology Products. I have been awarded equity as well for my contributions other than my day-to-day job role, even after I had left.
- Described both the digital products that I led the development for.
- The current valuation of both the product.
- How I established the DevOps department.
- The sweat equity that I have been awarded based on my contributions.
- What technology, I implemented, where I went out of the way etc.
- Recommended me and how I can benefit the startup eco-system of UK’s digital economy.

My Understanding:

If you carefully examine the whole tech nation guide and connect the dots, it appeared to me that, I have to show and prove that;

  • (MC1) Prove, you led the growth of a digital technology product as part of Mandatory Criteria (as suggested by the following lines;

You led the growth of a product-led digital technology company, product or team inside a digital technology company, as evidenced by reference letter(s) from leading industry expert(s) describing your work, or as evidenced by news clippings, lines of code from public repos or similar evidence.

  • (OC1) - Prove that you or your product demonstrated innovation (OC1)

  • (OC3) - Prove that your contributions created an impact. As per tech nation the term ‘significant contribution’ in this criteria requires you to demonstrate impact, not necessarily innovation.

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4. Mandatory Criteria

Which criteria are you applying for? Please choose two of the following:

You must provide at least two unique pieces of evidence for each of the two chosen criteria

Responses Selected:

1 - A proven track record for innovation as a founder or senior executive of a product-led digital technology company or as an employee working on a new digital field or concept

3 - Have made significant technical, commercial or entrepreneurial contributions to the field as a founder, senior executive, board member or employee of a product-led digital technology company

Based on Tech Nation website guidance, under the Mandatory criteria heading;

1) How do I demonstrate that I have been recognized as (or recognized as having the potential to be) a leading talent in the digital technology sector in the last 5 years?

  • You led the growth of a product-led digital technology company, product or team inside a digital technology company, as evidenced by reference letter(s) from leading industry expert(s) describing your work, or as evidenced by news clippings, lines of code from public repos or similar evidence.

- Outside of your normal day-to-day job role, you established, led or were a senior contributor to a large technology-led industry initiative, evidenced through reference letter(s) from global senior project executives.

Based on the following guidelines I submitted the following 4 documents.

4(a). Reference Letter from the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) of a renowned Bank (Third Bank)

  • Clearly describing how I led the growth of a product-led digital technology company, product or team inside a digital technology company, as evidenced by reference letter(s) from leading industry expert(s) describing my work (As per tech nation advised criteria)

4(b). Reference Letter from the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of another renowned Bank (Fourth Bank)

  • Clearly describing my contribution and how I led the growth of a large technology-led industry initiative, evidenced through reference letter(s) from global senior project executives, as suggested by tech nation.

4(c) - Evidence of Growth (1 page pdf document) briefly showing the stats published on linkedin (snapshot) and showing alliance with Edison Alliance as committed partner to achieve 1 billion lives challenge from the platform of World Economic Forum.

4(d) Public-Media-National-International-Recognition.pdf

  • National & International Recognition of the Product
    In the first week of November World Economic Forum awarded a “Spotlight Day” to my company to show case its product to the world. The speakers included;
    –Prime Minister of my country.
    – Finance Minister of my country.
    – Director General of Telecom Authority
    – Deputy Governer of Central Bank
    – A few CEOs and Chairman of Government bodies and Private Sector.

  • Public/Media Recognition (Personal)

  • Based on the above, I went live with a News channel in the first week of December 2023 for a short interview describing our product, which is not an ordinary thing.

So I proved growth by showing evidence, reference letters from the industry experts and media recognition of both me and my product, no idea what went wrong here?

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For OC1:

As per Tech Nation, examples of relevant evidence include:

- Evidence of innovation/product development, proof of product in market and associated traction through revenue.

- Evidence of employment contract with salary information including any bonus and equity options and history of earnings.

Based on the above requirements, I submitted the following documents;

OC1_1of4 - Evidence of Innovation.pdf (Explaining the innovation, attached a few diagrams and flows, clearly showing that I am the author)

OC1_2of4 - Proof of Product.pdf (Snapshots and links from Central Bank, Central Telecommunication Authority, Google results displaying my product listed with various Digital Banks and Youtube Videos etc etc to prove that the product exist and is well spoken about)

OC1_3of4 - Employment Highlights by HR Dept (Letterhead with Sign and contact details)

  • Showing my annual salary along with the benefits that I am entitled to and the rewards that I have been given in past few years.

OC1_4of4 - Sweat-Equity-Agreement.pdf

  • The sweat equity from my past UK employer against my contributions.

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For OC3:

As per Tech Nation;

How do I demonstrate that I have made a significant technical, commercial or entrepreneurial contributions to the field as a founder, senior executive, board member or employee of a product-led digital technology company?

Technical examples of a “significant contribution” include:

- Having led in the development of high-impact digital products or services;

- Having worked as a key engineer in the core product of a start-up, showing evidence as to how you have contributed to its success.

Documents that will be considered as acceptable evidence include;

- Letter from an employer wherever applicable. This is in addition to the required letters of endorsement and should be written by another individual;

- Documentation on product designs or architecture diagram clearly showing your contribution. Please ensure this evidence is no more than three A4 pages long and demonstrates your personal work, not that of the company or team of individuals;

Please note that the term ‘significant contribution’ in this criteria requires you to demonstrate impact, not necessarily innovation.

Submitted the following Documents:

OC3_1of2 - (Impact) Company’s CEO.pdf (Letter from the company’s CEO describing my contribution and attributing the success, impact and growth to my hardwork and innovation.

OC3_2of2 - Documentation on Product Designs.pdf (Documentation on product designs or architecture diagram Clearly showing my contribution)


My Rejection Report:

Assessment panel feedback:

The applicant has applied for the exceptional talent pathway via OC1 and OC3.

For MC1, the applicant shares the 5 recommendations which are not sufficiently backed up by independently verified evidence that can corroborate the assertions made. As noted in the Tech Nation Visa Guidelines, letters alone without third party evidence to corroborate the assertions made, are insufficient to demonstrate how an applicant meets any criteria. The News channel YouTube screenshot shows modest subscriber and viewership figures vs. greater reach & recognition. None of the speakers noted for the November World Economic Forum lists the applicant as keynote speaker on digital technology to notable audience attendance. The media and linkedin links do not individually name and recognise the applicant. Overall it is not clearly demonstrated how the applicant has achieved sustained national or international recognition as a leading talent in digital technology in the past 5 years. MC1 is not met.

My stance:
Out of 3 recommendation letters only one is from my Ex-Employer, the other two are independent C-level Officers who have signed and shared their visiting cards as well. Other than that I have shared a “Evidence of Growth.pdf” A document including evidence that is publicly available and verifiable.

Organizations typically claim credit and ownership of products, particularly those at the national level involving government institutions and multiple private sector industries. In such cases, the only way to ascertain an individual’s significant contribution is to consult industry professionals who have already acknowledged and attributed their involvement. How else can this be independently verified? The numbers referred to can be found on various platforms, including LinkedIn, Google, and newspapers. Naturally, it is not feasible for the entire government and industry to solely attribute all credit to one person and prominently feature their name everywhere.


Objection:
"The News channel YouTube screenshot shows modest subscriber and viewership figures vs. greater reach & recognition. "

My stance:
The stats shown in the document were taken on somewhere around the last week of December, what can you expect in the span of just three weeks? It were 1.6K likes and 1.7K views in just a span of two weeks. I checked today and they are around 6K. If you check such level of interviews or videos you will find that its not bad at all. I guess they did not open the links and instead relied on the numbers mentioned in the document, still two weeks is not too much.


Objection:
“None of the speakers noted for the November World Economic Forum lists the applicant as keynote speaker on digital technology to notable audience attendance. The media and linkedin links do not individually name and recognise the applicant. Overall it is not clearly demonstrated how the applicant has achieved sustained national or international recognition”

My stance:
Yes, that’s correct. The purpose was to showcase the national and international recognition of the product, including referencing the November World Economic Forum Spotlight Day event. It is understandable and expected that in the presence of high-level individuals such as the Prime Minister and Finance Minister, the focus is not on a technical explanation by a person with a technical background. Instead, the emphasis is on highlighting how the product is disrupting and making a positive impact on people’s lives. However, the important question remains: Who built this platform? To whom is the CEO attributing the success? The signed documents from the industry provide evidence that the success is attributed to a me.


“OC1 Objections”

Objection:
“For OC1, while respected, it is not clearly demonstrated how the wallets are
unique in the global digital technology sector amongst existing solutions around the globe.”

My Stance:
The technology utilized in our product is truly unique, and there is no similar many-to-many implementation found anywhere in the world. This fact has been extensively discussed and documented across various sources.

Considering this, why would the World Economic Forum recognize our product? Why would the country’s Central Bank, Prime Minister, Finance Minister, and Telecommunication Authority praise us? It is evident that such recognition and commendation would not be bestowed upon us if there were no innovation or impact. The very reason for these acknowledgments lies in the uniqueness and significance of our product, which sets it apart from common solutions.


Objection:
The employment and sweat equity agreements do not demonstrate how the applicant has authored groundbreaking innovation that is unique amongst existing solutions in the global digital technology sector.

My Stance:
In this section the Tech Nation clearly states;

Examples of relevant evidence include:

-Evidence of employment contract with salary information including any bonus and equity options and history of earnings.

  • So that’s what I have exactly submitted. Firstly, my salary is far more than the industry standard in my country.

  • Secondly, The equity document and the relevant recommendation letter clearly highlights my contribution and innovation and there is a reason why a UK based digital technology firm awarded me the equity, I must have done something great right?


Objection:
Overall it is not clearly demonstrated how the applicant has authored multiple examples of groundbreaking innovation in the global digital technology sector. OC1 is not met.

My Stance:

As per tech nation;

Examples of relevant evidence also include:

- Evidence of innovation/product development, proof of product in market and associated traction through revenue.

It appears that Evidence of Innovation.pdf and Proof of Product.pdf have been overlooked or not taken into consideration at all.


“OC3 Objections”

Objection:
For OC3, the applicant shares screenshots that do not demonstrate how the applicant’s efforts resulted in notable impact on a product-led digital technology where the applicant was an employee, founder, senior executive or board member of such an organisation.

My Stance:

Technical examples of a “significant contribution” include:

Having led in the development of high-impact digital products or services;

  • Having worked as a key engineer in the core product of a start-up, showing evidence as to how you have contributed to its success.*

Documents that will be considered as acceptable evidence include;

Letter from an employer wherever applicable.
Documentation on product designs or architecture diagram clearly showing your contribution.

After carefully, reading the following lines, I feel they got confused.

“shares screenshots that do not demonstrate how the applicant’s efforts resulted in notable impact on a product-led digital technology”

I have presented screenshots of documentation on product designs and architecture diagrams, clearly showcasing my contributions. The reader was specifically examining the diagrams to assess the impact. The CEO’s letter serves as proof of the impact.

They tried to consider the technology diagrams to look for the imapact.

The diagrams and architecture documents, which explicitly identify me as the author, provide clear evidence that I led the development.


Objection:
*The applicant also shares another recommendation letter. As noted in the Tech Nation Visa Guidelines, letters alone without third party evidence to corroborate the assertions made, are insufficient to demonstrate how an applicant meets any criteria. *

Overall it is not clearly demonstrated how the applicant has made multiple significant technical, commercial or entrepreneurial contributions to the field as a founder, senior executive, board member or employee of a product-led digital technology company. OC3 is not met.

My Stance:

Tech Nation states:

Having led in the development of high-impact digital products or services;

Having worked as a key engineer in the core product of a start-up, showing evidence as to how you have contributed to its success.

Who will provide evidence that I led the development? If I did, someone from my organization must state it on the letterhead, right? The CEO has clearly stated this fact in his signed appreciation letter on the company’s official letterhead, which serves as a clear identification. So, how else can one provide proof of their leadership?

The CEO of the organization acknowledges that all the impact and success are a result of my contribution. Industry experts have also expressed the same sentiment. Considering this, who else can provide evidence that this highly impactful product, which has already been validated through various sources such as print media, the central bank’s website, news channels, and the World Economic Forum, is indeed impactful? Given the industry’s recognition and the CEO’s endorsement, how else can one substantiate their claim?

Ending Note from the Feedback:

Overall the evidence presented is insufficient to demonstrate how the applicant meets all necessary criteria. We are therefore not convinced that they meet the standard of the global talent visa exceptional promise or talent pathway.

We cannot endorse this application.


Would greatly appreciate the help in here.

Hello @Francisca_Chiedu @alexnk @Victrr @alex_james
@Jazeb @ask4jubad @Yusuf_Adebanjo @westside
@Secure_Tobs @Nacsoft @Francisca_Chiedu

Will be grateful if you can please extend your help and support.

This is way too long. You need to state what was on the refusal note and the evidence you provided to meet the criteria. You are trying to explain but some of the points you have noted sounds like you didn’t follow the guideline

2 Likes

Should I open a new thread or repost a concise version here? Please advise.

You can start a shorter thread then remove this one

@ask4jubad this one is structured in detail with comments

I believe some comments have been shared in the shorter version right?

As a reconfirmation, if you can reduce the number of letters and replace them with standalone third-party evidence, that would be great. Otherwse, make sure to crossref your work.

For instance, let’s say the the CEO’s letter is name CEO-CompanyA_Ref_Letter.pdf, in the other product design document, mention it somewhere there thus.

Product X Design (CEO-CompanyA_Ref_Letter.pdf confirms my significant contribution owing the process and building the bla bla bla). At least, this way, you can enforce that the reviewer doesn’t miss an important information.
@aqueue

@ask4jubad, I am truly grateful for your invaluable feedback and continuous support in this matter. I have a quick question: when you suggest replacing letters with standalone third-party evidence, how can I go about doing that? What qualifies as evidence? Additionally, why is there discouragement towards using letters? In my understanding, industry leaders who are not your direct supervisors but have worked closely with you for a significant period could be considered as valuable third-party references. If these references include Chief-level officers from reputable digital banks, it becomes difficult to overlook their testimonial. How else can I provide substantiation for my work if not through such third-party references? Aren’t these individuals themselves considered third parties?

For instance, if you were interviewed to talk about your organization’s product or service offering, that would qualify as evidence. Or if your name was mentioned in a media outlet at the person that led a product effort.

You are right, But the truth remains, third-party verifiable (e.g. news link) are stronger in general than references (who may be biased towards you). And it’s clearly written on the TN guide that references alone are not sufficient as mentioned in the rejection letter thus:

. The real challenge with too many references is that it takes away room for more substantive ones.

References from people in the same organization may not necessarily count as third-party evidence for the same reason above.

The idea is not to fully remove references, rather, to back them up with other things such as the examples that I have given earlier. Another example could be proof of high salary, offer of equity to really demonstrate “your recognition”; keyword: “your recognition”.