Statistics on digital technology visa grants


I am a British citizen but I have met a couple of people and a coworker with this visa and I had a couple of questions. I found some statistics about the various nationalities granted this visa and the percentage of people switching from another visa but not everything that I am looking for.

Are there any clear statistics about the amount of visas granted to nationalities of each country for applicants who were not already in the UK and did not switch from another visa.

A large amount of those I have met seem to be from Nigeria, I wonder why this is the case?

I read the application guide on the tech nation website and it seems to me that it might be easier for people from non OECD countries as a lot of the criteria focuses on startups and recommendations. In OECD economies it is harder to establish a startup as there is a lot more venture capital and competition from big players. I am concerned about this as I know some applicants who have made startups with moderate success that are not really ground breaking and would never succeed in the UK and then come here on the visa to work for companies without ever establishing a startup here. Some of them I worked with under performed and when I looked up their university qualifications, they were questionable from institutions with poor curriculum and it did not seem like they have made up for it with self taught skills. This is less of an issue with visa holders I know from OECD countries even though they tend to be more on the promise than talent route and are younger. They typically have strong academic profiles and often even publications in major journals but do not have a startup history. None of those that I know from Australia and the US and other developed nations have shown me any sign of concern about their qualifications. Some of those from Nigeria and Sierra Leone have a real lack of expertise and poor cognitive reasoning and critical thinking, one of them for example keeps talking about God all the time in irrelevant contexts.

Of course there are exceptions to this rule and I have met a brilliant person who is from Nigeria but did her masters here and is very talented and I cannot come to conclusions from my anecdotal experiences. It might just be that people in OECD countries have no wish to move here under this visa as they are already doing fine where they are. Tech salaries are also higher in their countries sometimes. I understand it is not the individuals fault, and I feel bad for them since they probably had less opportunity in their home country to develop these skills.

I would love some links to statistics if anyone knows where I can find them, particularly visas granted by nationality.

Well i can tell you one think from my experience since i have worked in UK and India both. Tech salaries in India are at par with US, at least for those of us who are in the top tech bracket. But i have still applied for this visa because those of us who are high earners also want to escape all the political trouble in the country. All the mess that we are in. UK as a country has higher standards of living than India. Perhaps that is the case with Nigerian folks aswell. The other reason could be if the salaries are not that good in Nigeria.

That is not true, I am familiar with the field in India, USA and the UK. Even for those in the top bracket unless you mean top 1%, for the most part high salaries like USD 300, 000 and more even when adjusted for cost of living are uncommon in India, it is only the executives or founder employees making that much in India, or in some cases those doing tax avoidance / fraud. Even the UK has significantly lower salaries than the US.

The political situation makes sense as a reason for leaving. I was wondering more about the quality of expertise, particularly when it comes to specialised roles. For India, since it is a massive country, I don´t think the situation is really comparable, India is such a large country that you have a bit of everything, so you will find both experts and entry level skills, but a lot of the highly specialised people leave India these days. India unlike Nigeria has a few highly ranked Universities and produces a decent amount of academic research in reputable journals (it also produces lots of questionable research in mediocre journals).

Thank you for your post and for raising your concerns.

However, let’s address the issue at hand - the sweeping generalisations and flawed reasoning in your post. Painting entire nationalities with the same brush based on anecdotal experiences is not only unfair, it’s also unproductive. It’s not the visa holder’s fault if they had limited opportunities in their home country to develop certain skills, and it’s wrong to assume that their qualifications and experiences are automatically questionable based on their nationality.

The Global Talent Visa route is designed to attract the best and brightest talent from around the world, regardless of their country of origin. The application process is rigorous and designed to assess the potential of each applicant, regardless of their background. It’s not just about startups and recommendations, but a combination of factors such as academic achievements, professional accomplishments, and future potential.

Furthermore, your assertion that visa holders from OECD countries are more talented or have stronger critical thinking skills is not supported by evidence and is simply untrue. Talents, skills, and abilities are not determined by one’s nationality or country of origin. There are talented individuals from all countries, and it’s important to recognise and appreciate their contributions, regardless of where they come from.

I hope this provides some context and clarity on the matter, and encourages you to adopt a more inclusive and open-minded perspective in the future.

Regarding your request for information on visas granted by nationality, I would like to direct you to this data about applicants by country: Although it may not provide a comprehensive breakdown of visa recipients by country, you can use the information in comparison with the 2020 report that includes regional endorsement rates to arrive at your own conclusions. While there may be some changes in the 2022 data, I believe they will not significantly affect the outcome you are looking to determine.

By the way, I was granted the Global Talent Visa 2 years ago as an exceptional talent from Nigeria. At the time, I had the option to go to the US, Canada, and France, but I chose the UK for its rich cultural history with Nigeria, its multicultural society, and its family-friendly atmosphere. My decision was not based on ease or the belief that the UK was less critical of my skills. Just like me, I know many other visa recipients who are equally or even more talented and chose the UK for similar reasons. When considering the data on visa distribution by nationality, it’s important to also consider the various factors that contribute to the higher number of applicants from countries like Nigeria compared to OECD countries.


I think one more thing that need to be addressed is that even if those “not so strong” startups dont succeed which is like 99% of them, still those people can work in the tech sector and enrich the economy, otherwise those jobs will be unfilled. It is a win win capitalism 101.


a) Maybe the people you worked with were the exception rather than the norm.
b) Speaks to the hiring practices at your own firm. Maybe try getting that fixed. :slight_smile:


I can feel your pain @Leon ,
It doesn’t look good to see Britain looking more black these days.
How on earth will anyone call black people, especially Nigerians “experts”?
We are all used to them being called immigrants, and politicians use boat narratives to claim that they don’t like to enter through legal means.

The majority voted for Brexit because they are all happy with the OECD people from the EU taking their fruit picking jobs. :grinning:
At least those ones came with Masters and PhDs from universities with better curricula, posh English commands, and critical thinking abilities.

Instead of feeling threatened by Nigerians at my work, or looking up their uni to see how it ranks in the research game, I will rather concentrate on self development so that I can be better too and have that boldness to shoot for those roles Nigerias and other immigrants have got the gut to go for.

Peace and love from your brother in the NE :grinning:


There is no need to get so defensive, I literally acknowledged in my OP that this is anecdotal evidence which is why I wanted to see statistics.

I in no way think there is anything wrong with any nationality, I am just interested in understanding statistics and the root cause of this.

Obviously there is a reason people want to leave Nigeria and dual citizens don´t send their kids to study in Nigeria while Australian and Canadian dual nationals often do. I feel for these people as obviously they have grown up in an environment with less opportunity and I am happy to have them in Britain. I have also seen how many of them have developed and progressed and filled knowledge gaps by hard work after coming here.

I did not vote for Brexit and I wish we welcomed people coming by boat better and processed asylum claims better and had a better system for people to apply without needing to come here or at official borders.

I am just pointing out that I feel there are flaws with the system and think that the criteria should be more open. After browsing rejection posts here, I can see many profiles that would be a great addition to the UK that have been rejected (including those from Nigeria). I would prefer if there were more visas that did not tie you to your job, and if the HPI visa had a path to ILR, same with the post study visa. I also think, international student scholarships for brilliant students from underprivileged backgrounds, with a clause that makes them work in the UK and settle here after graduation would help.

I think we should be doing more to attract specialist that can slip through the cracks of tech nation’s criteria because it focuses too much on startups and activities outside of primary employment when we already had the startup visa for that. I deal with R&D and international mobility a lot and it pains me to see how we used to attract talent better in the past and are losing out to the US and Canada in recent years.

Ordinarily I should have let this slide but I feel compelled to respond to your follow-up post as I believe it contains some misguided assumptions and flawed reasoning.

First, let me address your original post. Your curiosity about the nationalities of individuals who received the Global Talent Visa was pretentious and it was not surprising that some people took offense. Instead of doubling down on your stance and accusing those who called you out of being defensive, you should have taken a step back and acknowledged the flaws in your original post.

Second, I find it hard to reconcile the correlation between your initial post and this follow-up post of yours. If this was your original argument, I don’t think there would have been any issues with it. It took me just a few minutes to find, piece together, and share the data you requested, which further adds to my suspicion about your true intentions in posting the original message, especially since you posted it just a few hours after joining the forum.

Finally, I think you are the one who is defensive in this situation. You have not acknowledged the data I shared, which addresses the questions you raised, nor have you shared any lessons you learned from the data.

In conclusion, it is possible to acknowledge that an overwhelming number of Global Talent Visa recipients are exceptional individuals irrespective of their nationality, while also recognising that the UK should be doing more to attract specialists who might not meet the criteria set by TechNation. You do not have to resort to casting aspersions on individuals’ nationalities or credentials to make a valid point, which on its own is worth considering.


I have seen the data you provided and come across it myself but it does not directly answer what I was looking for. More data on things like universities attended, activities in the UK etc would also help.

It is not pretentious to take into account facts like the fact that Nigerian universities under perform in research output and you are less likely to find people with highly specialised niche skills there.

I am not looking for the data to make assumptions, I am just concerned that in general we are not attracted talent that we could, be it from Nigeria, India, USA or wherever and that the average person on this visa might not really be better than the average tier 2 skilled visa holder or post graduate work permit visa which have more limitations.

I do think it is easier to attain some of the startup oriented criteria in emerging economies because those are not full of competitors, Looking at posts here, I just don´t see that many profiles where people have highly specialised skills, like cutting edge technologies.

Perhaps I was wrong in using Nigeria as an example and my problem isn´t really with that. The UK attracts applications from Nigeria for all sorts of visa categories so we are doing a good job there.My concern is that we are not attracting enough top talent since we do not get many applications from countries that are leaders in digital technology. I hate how hard we have made it for international students who study in Britain to remain here after their studies. Meanwhile, the US and Canada seem to be attracting all the top talent away and China is growing its own home grown talent fast while we in the UK are gutting our local education systems and failing to attract and retain talent from overseas.

@Leon , So you think the US or Australia , after pouring loads of cash into research, will be happy to let their talents come to one island for a 40k salary? .
It tells so much about why many doctors and nurses are staying in the NHS and not boarding the next flight to Australia.
I do hope the next time you use the NHS, you will demand that only Harvard-trained NHS Band 5 nurses on a 28K salary are allowed to care for you.
You may also need to question the percentage of nurses that came in during COVID from high-ranking universities.
The game is about talents, not a university ranking game. I hope that helps.!

I feel that a bit of travel also helps educate the mind without painting everyone with the same brush.

The argument of universities where people graduate is flawed.
No one will leave a 6 figure income to a location where they will be paid 38k all because of the interest in the population being more white.

Lastly, a large number of immigrants doing groundbreaking stuffs in the US are not from OECD countries and not all of them attended the so called high ranking universities.

India and Nigeria may not be considered leaders in digital technologies in your book , but many of the sofware and hardware you use today are built by those you have literality called low-skilled.

compete on talent and stop boxing people .


I am just concerned as I have international experience and deal with multi national teams. I am currently in California for a conference.

No one said anything about being white you are putting words in my mouth, in CS and engineering in OECD countries a lot of the graduates are not white and have immigrant backgrounds. India and Nigeria are different situations, India has a massive population and a bit of everything including high ranking universities and world leading technology. Nigeria in recent times has been improving with a lot of international tech firms choosing Lagos as a hub for Africa, still most don´t do cutting edge work at the Africa offices.

That is my point, I wish Britain could also offer those high salaries and have those sorts of jobs here. I have never painted everyone with the same brush, this is just a generic talking point since I have stated multiple times that this wasn’t the case and expressed that I want it to be easier for immigrants to move here, in particular international graduates of British universities.

High ranking universities are not the end all be all, it is just an example I gave to showcase how someone growing up in an OECD country has better opportunities as unfair as that is.

Nursing and technology are not comparable fields but yes it would be nice if we could also attract more leading doctors and medical research personnel. The UK may be a tiny island (not that tiny imo), but it has some of the worlds best universities, and I just feel like we could do better with less conservative policy. Immigrants have it worse here and these days many people are choosing Canada instead because of all these things we came up with like NHS surcharge and what not.

That is besides the point, you are getting confused as just because I am critical of us not attracting enough of true talent with this visa, that does not mean that I do not want people who do not qualify as top talent coming here, I think there should be more of them too but under a different visa category and more visas in general need to have an easier path to ILR. The reason this visa attracts people who might not necessarily be highly skilled is because we do not offer any other options besides the skilled work visa which limits you to one employer. No one is going to leave another OECD country or even a good job in India or Nigeria for less pay with the risk of having to go back.

Hey Leon

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to follow your argument, as it seems to be constantly changing. Let’s go back to the original question you posed:

“I would love some links to statistics if anyone knows where I can find them, particularly visas granted by nationality.”

The data I provided in response to that question should have been sufficient.

Your original post was not just concerning, it was outright offensive. And while you’ve since attempted to backtrack with plausible phrases like “perhaps I was wrong to single out Nigeria,” the intent of your conjectures has already been registered.

I’ll touch briefly on your more recent points. The equivalent of the UK’s Global Talent Visa in those other countries like the US (0-1 and EB), Canada (GTS), and Singapore (TechPass) isn’t the reason why they are leading in cutting-edge technologies. These visas are all focused on exceptional digital technology skills and achievements, not necessarily exceptional skills in general, universities or nationalities of immigrants, or cutting-edge technologies. To compare these visas and make blanket statements about them as to why the US and China are more attractive is overtly simplistic. I didn’t mention Canada because, while its proximity to the US anecdotally confers on it some significant advantages, I haven’t seen any data to support your argument that Canada leads the UK. Perhaps, I haven’t just looked hard enough.

I’ll leave it to others with stronger critical reasoning skills to engage further with your argument. In the meantime, I’d like to recommend an article I came across a few years ago about how innovation ecosystems are truly built. It may provide you with some additional factors to consider in your concerns. Or perhaps not!

Like I said, the data you shared is useful and does give some very valuable insights, but is missing some things I am looking for.

I am not backtracking the statements. I do know particular individuals who happen to be from developing economies who were granted this visa and are underwhelming (one of which I know has parts of his resume that are fraudulent work histories). I also know many more from the same countries with this visa and skilled worker visas who are brilliant. That made me curious and want to look into the matter and question if the system is working as intended. Just because I felt those individuals lacked critical thinking skills, doesn’t mean I think everyone from those countries lacks critical thinking skills. We also have plenty of people born here who lack critical thinking skills. When we were in the EU, top talent from the EU (including minorities) would flock here for our startups, research and universities.

I think it is unfair to just pull out the racism accusations just because I mentioned OECD countries, these countries are often very diverse and the ones excelling in technology certainly have a diverse workforce in tech.

You are right about Canada’s proximity to the US being a benefit especially, with remote work opportunities growing since the pandemic. But one of the reasons why Canada leads the UK, is they have a points based immigration system which rewards studying in Canada. International students specifically go there because they know there is a path to citizenship for them after they graduate. In the UK we had suspected the post graduate work visa for a while, now that it is back, it is only for 2 years and has no ILR path. We made an HPI visa for graduates of top universities, but again there is no ILR path, a lot of people won´t come here when offered a position in London versus Vancouver or Toronto for this reason. The skilled work visa has a path to ILR but since it is tied to your job, it creates an incentive for employers to underpay and borderline exploit immigrants until they get ILR. The US is similar but being a much larger country by population, they can get away with it. A lot of top talent from the UK does move to the US and Canada. I am less familiar about Australia but overall in tech we are doing better than them.

I glanced at your article and will read it later. Thank you. There is no need to be passive aggressive about critical thinking skills, that comment in my original post was specifically about individuals I know who hold this visa. You clearly care about advancing the field.

I was hoping to end this conversation, but it seems that there are a few false statements that need correcting.

  1. I did not ask you to retract your statement, I simply pointed out the offensive nature of it. If you choose to defend your right to make offensive statements, that is your choice to make and not mine.

  2. I have not once played the “race card” in our exchange. To suggest that I have, using reverse racism, is absurd and only serves to deflect from the condescension and generalisations in your original post.

  3. I am not being passive-aggressive on this issue. I am straightforward and unapologetic in my stance against generalisations, especially when they are disguised as pretend-curiosity. Throughout our conversation, my approach has been to call out the innuendos in your original post while still engaging with the valid points that I perceived in your argument.


Pretty hot debate but if you look at the evidence here Tech Nation Visa Alumni Network - Tech Nation Visa - Tech Nation on the countries section and select the country find out for yourself whats the economic contribution of immigrants from each country. You will be surprised that @Leon may be right.

You must also look at the the ratio of awarded Visas, and it maybe among the top 3 countries to have been awarded this visa but the ratio of contribution is higher among Russia, USA, Canada, Australia, India, Singapore, Philippines is among the highest many even cross 1.5 Billion GBP.

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  1. I have not claimed you asked me to retract my statement anywhere. I disagree about it being offensive, no where did I make any offensive statements, I just said that the pool of potential talent is greater in OECD countries and was wondering whether this visa attracts sufficient talent from those countries. This is not an offensive statement, especially since I acknowledged exceptions in the first post and OECD countries include countries in South America and Asia. I acknowledge that it is unfortunate that people from certain countries and economic backgrounds do not have the same opportunities to reach those heights.

  2. You use “race card” in quotes but you are the only person to use that term in this thread so no one accused you of that. Besides the term is usually used to accuse someone of falsely claiming they experienced racism in a situation when they did not. I have no where insinuated that you were claiming racism. I did respond to some arguments from another person who was sarcastically saying things like “How on earth will anyone call black people, especially Nigerians “experts”?” not you. I have no where expressed a racist opinion, and the tech industry in OECD countries is very diverse as is the research sector. A lot of people started responding to me with answers irrelevant to my questions like telling me that people working in tech in the US who are doing ground breaking things have backgrounds from other places, I am not denying this and I want Britain to attract this talent as well. In addition to OECD countries some countries like China invest heavily in education and research as well. I do see a problem if statistically a visa for talent is not attracting many people from places which have a lot of talent.

  3. I was referring to your sarcastic response “I’ll leave it to others with stronger critical reasoning skills to engage further with your argument.” being passive aggressive behaviour.

I am not anti immigration or anti immigration from certain countries, I am just concerned that we may not be doing enough to attract talent and that our criteria might make it harder for some talented people who are better than those that have been selected.

In the developed world, it can be pretty hard to obtain some evidence mentioned by technation, no company will want you to submit proof of your work and what you worked on to protect their IP. It is also harder to make successful startups and get users due to competition from large players like Amazon. It is not uncommon in some countries for bribery and other means being used to get degrees and jobs. They also ask for news clippings. The press in certain countries is horribly corrupt (and in Anglo countries has a corporate bias), and certain countries rank horribly in the freedom of press index.

Agreed, I think what would be useful to know is the total number of applications for each country and the acceptance rate for each country.

If countries that do not have a strong track record in digital technology have a large amount of visa holders but also have overwhelmingly more applicants and an overall low acceptance rate, then it is probably fine but we should ask ourselves why we cannot attract more people to apply from countries leading in tech. For that I think we need to make immigration easier, less costly and have incentives to bring investors and companies to create high paying jobs like in California.

This is a very offensive post.

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