Stage 1 Exceptional Talent Application rejected - applying for review

Hello,

I submitted my application for Exceptional Talent on June 6th and it was rejected on June 23rd. I got NO for all 3 of the criteria. I don’t agree with some of the points raised in the feedback, so I am preparing a request for review. I would appreciate any thoughts or advice on my response to the given feedback.

Documents I’ve submitted:

(MC) I have been recognised as a leading talent in the digital technology sector in the last 5 years:

  • React Spreadsheet Grid open source project created by me in November, 2017. It scored 1,030 stars and 62 forks on GitHub / 80,000+ overall downloads / 820+ weekly downloads.

  • an open source project created by me in 2018. It scored 64 stars and 8 forks on GitHub / 6,200+ overall NPM downloads.

  • an open source project created by me in 2020. It scored 130 stars on GitHub / 18,000+ overall downloads / 520+ weekly downloads.

  • LOR from an expert in Front-End open source who created several industry-standard tools, where he confirms that the tools I developed are high quality, useful, in-demand, and pushing the industry forward.

Have been recognized for work beyond my occupation that contributes to the advancement of the digital technology sector (OC2):

  • 2 of my articles on Front-End development published on HackerNoon.com (an acknowledged online tech media with more than 3 million monthly readers), they scored 5,700+ and 1,100+ reads accordingly (2016 and 2017)

  • An online talk on Front-End development. The video of the talk on YouTube was viewed 1,302 times and scored 27 likes. Slides I created for this talk, published on Slides.com, scored 2,005 views (2015)

I have made significant technical contributions to the digital technology sector as an employee of product-led digital technology companies (OC3)

  • Letter of support from manager in my current company
  • Evidence of the current high salary and employment, and evidence that the company is providing for me an offer for its UK office with high UK salary
  • Evidence of contributions to success in the core product of the company

The assessment panel feedback I got:

The applicant has not shown how he is a leading talent in the digital technology sector. Although he has created several OpenSource projects, there has been very little activity since they were first developed 2 years ago. The React spreadsheet is not unique; there are other projects that deliver similar functionality and have not only higher but also more consistent usage. This project was developed 5 years ago and the last update was 2 years ago. Although the applicant has been endorsed by a leading figure in OpenSource, it’s difficult to find other references to the work done by the applicant. Most of his work seemed to stop 2 years ago; no new updates and very few comments or writeups about the software. An applicant for exceptional talent needs to have a more consistent track record and if they are making a major contribution to OpenSource that needs to a much higher level than that currently achieved by the applicant.

Optional Criteria 2 requires the applicant to provide proof of recognition for work outside their immediate occupation that has contributed to the advancement of the sector—specifically they need to provide evidence that they have gone beyond their day-to-day profession to engage in an activity that contributes to the advancement of the sector. The applicant has submitted a number of articles (on Medium) and talks as evidence to support this criteria. According to Tech Nation guidance, Medium articles are not considered acceptable proof of recognition. In addition, 3 of the articles were published in 2016 and 2017, which are beyond the 5-year limit noted in the Tech Nation guidelines. He also published 2 articles in Hackernoon, but these were published in 2016 and 2017; again, outside of the 5 year time period. The applicant gave a talk but this was in November 2015, again outside of the 5 year time period. The applicant has not published any material since 2018. There are also references to various mentoring activities associated with his role as a senior developer. The mentoring of junior colleagues is expected within most organisations; it is not outside his day-to-day occupation and is therefore excluded from this assessment.

Optional Criteria 3 requires the applicant to have made significant technical, commercial, or entrepreneurial contributions to the field as a founder or employee of a product-led digital technology company. The applicant has provided 2 letters of reference from [company name 1]. Both letters summarise some of the accomplishments of the applicant. They make vague references to his contribution (i.e., increasing user engagement) but they provide no detail. Neither of the letters make explicit reference to the impact of the work done by the applicant. The letters simply confirm that the applicant is a highly competent developer. There are also references to the significant amount of code written by the applicant for [company name 1]. But this focuses on the volume of code written rather than the impact of his work. The applicant has also provided letters of reference from previous employers at [company name 2] and [company name 3]. He worked at the former between 2010-2014 and the latter in 2015. Both time periods are beyond the 5-year time limit expressed in the Tech Nation guidance. The applicant has also submitted his current Russian salary and his proposed UK salary as support for this criteria. This has little to do with this criteria. In any event, a relatively high salary does not imply that the applicant is exceptional; it is simply a reflection of the market for developers with his skills and experience.

Based on the above, the applicant cannot be endorsed for this visa.

What I don’t agree with:

Mandatory Criteria

The feedback says:

there has been very little activity since they were first developed 2 years ago.

This project was developed 5 years ago and the last update was 2 years ago.

Most of hiswork seemed to stop 2 years ago; no new updates

While the example of a relevant evidence in the guide says:

Outside of your normal day-to-day job role, you led or were a significant contributor to a substantial open source project

Any activity you are providing as evidence of recognition should have occurred within the past 5 years.

I’ve created my OS projects and continued working on them in 2017-2020 which is within the past 5 years. It is true I didn’t make contributions to them in the last 2 years, but there’s no requirement regarding consistent track record of contributions to OS projects in the guide (although creating of 3 projects with 64, 130, 1000+ stars in 2017-2020 seems quite consistent track record for me except the last 2 years).

The React spreadsheet is not unique; there are other projects that deliver similar functionality and have not only higher but also more consistent usage.

There’s no requirement regarding uniqueness of a created OS project, neither the definition of this in the guide. It’s true there’re other more popular projects providing similar functionality, but the project I’ve created still in-demand which means it is useful and substantial for users who use it comparing to the analogues.

if they are making a major contribution to OpenSource that needs to a much higher level than that currently achieved by the applicant.

My OS projects have 64, 130, 1000+ GitHub stars and hundreds of downloads which seems quite a high level for OS project. Isn’t it enough?

Optional Criteria 2

He also published 2 articles in Hackernoon, but these were published in 2016 and 2017; again, outside of the 5 year time period. The applicant gave a talk on React & Flux but this was in November 2015, again outside of the 5 year time period. The applicant has not published any material since 2018.

That’s true, but I I don’t see the requirement about the past 5 years for Optional Criteria in the guide, only for Mandatory Criteria. Does it make sense to argue with this?

Optional Criteria 3

The applicant has provided 2 letters of reference from [company name 1]. Both letters summarise some of the accomplishments of the applicant. They make vague references to his contribution (i.e.,increasing user engagement) but they provide no detail. Neither of the letters make explicit reference to the impact of the work done by the applicant.

One of the LORs and Letter of Support are confirming the detailed list of features developed by me and impact of these features into the core company’s product’s users count which grew from several hundreds to 500,000 and the revenue. They also confirming in details how I impacted the quality of the product. It a popular high-impact fintech product.

Isn’t it enough? What other details can be provided to meet the requirements?

There are also references to the significant amount of code written by the applicant for [company name]. But this focuses on the volume of code written rather than the impact of his work.

I’ve submitted a report of high number of lines of code written by me and a report on me being in the top of commiters for the core company’s product.
The guide says that this is an acceptable evidence, not sure why it doesn’t count:

GitHub account that contains lines of code clearly showing your continuing contribution.

Another point from the feedback:

The applicant has also submitted his current salary and his proposed UK salary as support for this criteria. This has little to dowith this criteria. In any event, a relatively high salary does not imply that the applicant is exceptional; it is simply a reflection of the market for developers with his skills and experience.

The guide says that an employment contract with salary information is an acceptable evidence. Also I see there’re recommendations to use such info as an evidence on this forum and it works for people. Not sure why the feedback says that it has little to do with this criteria.


What do you think?
I would appreciate any thoughts or advice on this and on how to go about it.
Thanks in advance!

1 Like

I think you have grounds to appeal, the points you have raised are valid, the tech nation guide said activity must have happened within the last five year, it didn’t say the contributions must be continous as your project priorities must have changed in the last three years. So let them know that those two years you committee a lot of time to contribute to opensource project and it was recognised by peers. Your point about the evidence for optional criteria not having the 5 years mark maybe raised but assessor may suggest that it is implied but you can still point it out as gives tech nation an opportunity to add it to future update on the guide. I think you need to address why you believe you meet the criteria as stated in the tech nation guide and point out part of the feedback which contradicts what is the tech nation guide. Good luck.

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Is 2017 outside 5 years? Are they checking to the month? 2017 + 5 = 2022. How is 2017 outside the 5 year range?

In your case it seems both hackernoon articles were published on 2016, correct?

One of the articles was published in February, 2017 - so seems yes, they checking to the month and it out of the past 5 years then.

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Thank you! I will do this and let everyone know how it went.

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Hi, did you try to appeal? What is the result?

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