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This is the full story with the explanation about how Tech Nation's Senior Manager has used its position to brake the rules of the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa process and make sure that I don't receive the visa because they didn't like me and because they understood nothing about the technology.
One of initiatives of the UK government introduced by David Cameron in 2014 is known as Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent / Exceptional Promise) visa. It is available across a variety of sectors including science, humanities, engineering, medicine, arts and the digital technology. In the latter, its aim is to bring the talent into the UK and help grow the digital sector. The visa is really helpful to individuals who are creative and therefore might want to choose life paths other than working for an employer. It is considered to be a prestigious visa, because the number of people who can receive it is limited to 2000 per year and it takes high standard of work and achievements to receive it. In addition, it serves as a natural reward and motivation for those professionals who work hard on their projects that do not bring immediate feedback — for example, an Open Source project can be innovative and advantageous to the community and industry, but more than often it does not any provide any monetary reward — now, the Tier 1 visa is the best stimuli that helps creative people to receive the positive feedback that their hard work is noticed and appreciated.
In the digital technology sector, the Home Office outsources the decision process to the organisation known as Tech Nation. Moreover, Tech Nation enjoys a £5.25 million annual funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and is thus supported by everyone living in the UK and paying their taxes. One would imagine that such an organisation is highly professional and helps people including young talent to open new doors for them, with the overall benefit to the sector. Some people would refer to the visa as reputable and respected, however my story on this website will show to anyone who has worked in the sector and has any real experience, that Tech Nation has discredited the visa and their decisions cannot be trusted. The level of high-handedness, arrogance and ignorance that I observed in dealing with Tech Nation can only be compared to their tyrannical attitude that no law applies to them, in particular the GDPR. Despite that it might sound that I am an individual who is just upset about their application not being successful, the information given on the website is enough for anyone to make their own judgement based on true facts.
Although Tech Nation takes the liberty to call the visa "Tech Nation Visa", they only act as an intermediary between the Home Office and the Panel of Experts who are industry experts able to make an informed decision. The problem is that such chain of agents in the process introduces the pitfalls including the one that the Home Office cannot understand anything about technology, and Tech Nation de-facto can say anything and the Home Office will trust them. One would think that Tech Nation must be highly credible entity however the real life is opposite: I have been personally discriminated against by the Senior Manager of Tech Nation who abused their power to make sure that I fail the process. Initially Tech Nation allowed errors that the Panel of Experts made to propagate, but when I requested those errors to be fixed, the manager intentionally didn't contact the Panel of Experts according to the rules and failed me based on criteria I did not even choose.
The stance taken by the manager can be characterised as leftist in the bad sense of this word and hostile. The manager used of the community to say that I did not pass some criteria and this is why I call such discrimination leftist — the person does not care a bit about the community and its benefit, but brings up arguments concerning the community to achieve their personal aim. The parallel to that phenomenon are some white activists that are personally dissatisfied with the society for their own reasons, but pretend that they fight for the rights of black people. This idea does not apply to all members of the left but the fact is that such things happen: at first, a bunch of individuals would show their support to the idea that is close to their heart, but then they would be joined by the mob angry with society that seeks any opportunity to attack it. Finally, there are two general ways in which people will behave towards the world and other people — either hostile or friendly. Instead of being a friendly institute that really aims to help talented individuals, in my case Tech Nation has shown its true side that is hostile, rude, abusive and unintelligent. In many situations in management of companies and countries, it would be very supportive to many people to have a friendly person or organisation in power so that they can rely on someone authoritative to solve their problems. On the contrary, Tech Nation has proven to be the opposite — a large bully with a lot of power vested in them without anyone checking their decisions and who therefore allows itself to be hostile and passively aggressive to applicants.
There are two sub-routes in the Tier 1 Visa: Exceptional Talent and Exceptional Promise. The talent path is suitable for individuals who have already built technology businesses and have somewhat made their name in the field. The promise path, according to the guidance, is for younger people who through their achievements and skills have shown their potential to become world leaders in the technology sector, partly with the help of the Tier 1 visa that can open new doors for them. The separation is clear and the promise route is the perfect choice for someone who would never otherwise be able to get the visa just because they didn't have enough time or resource to establish their digital presence just yet.
I truly believe that I am the type of person that the promise route was designed for: young, skilled, talented and autonomous developer who can and already has contributed to the field. So what is my story and why do I think that I am so special to be able to receive the visa? First and foremost, unlike any (or most) other applicants, I have already set up my business in the UK. My company is called Art Deco Code Limited, or Art Deco™ in short and has a large Open Source portfolio made up of developer tools in form of NPM packages. The packages that I made are not just some code written using other people's work: in my strive to be independent and in control of my infrastructure, I developed most of the tools from scratch, and really contributed innovations that were not there before. My main focus of work over the past few years was to create tools that are essential for the development process, including the Zoroaster unit-testing framework with an innovative approach to writing set-up and tear-down routines that opened the doors for such innovation as serverless testing to speed up the test suite execution time, the Documentary documentation pre-processor that drastically increases productivity when explaining how to use software, the MNP (my-new-package) package bootstraping tool to automatically create new packages with a git repository that supports NPM scopes and GitHub organisations, the ALaMode Regex-based transpiler that is a single competitor to Babel transpiler to enable writing import/export statements, and the Expensive CLI tool to register domains from the terminal. This set of tools is called the NodeTools and it bridges the gap between the expressiveness of the Node.js language and the lack of appropriate developer tools that are essential to implementing, testing and documenting software.
Apart from these bigger products, there are a hundred smaller packages that are essential building blocks for other software. I have come up with a method and structure for making packages that are immediately testable and documentable. Because each new package can be used in other packages, the whole infrastructure that I build supports itself and allows me to have use cases for work on other projects, such as coming up with new requirements for the testing and documentation frameworks and my plan for mnpjs.org social network that would analyse the number of lines of code, tests and documentation across releases for independent and institutional developers (i.e., businesses) to track their progress and monitor the status of their packages at large.
So how was I able to start the business in the UK if I was just applying for the visa in June? The answer is that I had lived in the UK prior to that for 9.5 years, first studying 1-year iGCSEs and A-levels at the King's School Ely, then reading Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Sussex, then studying Masters in Computer Security at the King's College London and finally working as Software Engineer at Amigo Technology in London. In March 2018 I resigned from Amigo as Senior Software Developer and therefore my visa was curtailed until August before which I had to find other options for staying in the country. I did the research and found out about the Tier 1 visa (actually, I found out about it before but did not pay much attention) that required to show evidence of being able to build and exploit technical infrastructure and because I contributed a lot to my company's tech and made a number of NPM packages by the time, I decided that I could apply for the visa because I could absolutely see myself as a "Promise" — defined in the Guidelines as a young individual with strong skills and sound achievements. I believed that my distinction in Masters as well as the Senior Role by 25 would definitely fall under definition of achievements. But I was wrong — in the process, those achievements were never counted in to my advantage.
Recently, I have started to blog on Medium and Reddit. Tech Nation are unreasonably (and not according to the Guidelines as shown later) asking Promise candidates to have the profile in the community as a must, without understanding that it takes a great amount of effort just to compose a single article: one has to have a really unique product to talk about, which is time-consuming to develop. When talking about the potential of a person, the conversation should be about the potential to have the profile that would come after the person gets the visa that would enable him or her to have time to focus on building such a profile. That's why the Promise route is characterised by skills and achievements, and NOT the existing profile. There is so much to do at hand, and there are constant improvements to many packages that I have planned. I never run out of things to do, and working for Art Deco is a full-time job that is unpaid and on which I spend more than 40 hours a week. It is the job that I really like because I set my own targets and achieve them so that my infrastructure can fully belong to me, and one day, my company will have perfect developer tools that are modern, efficient and maintainable according to the high standard that I have set for it.
The explanation of what documents one requires to collect and send along with the application is outlined in the Tech Nation Guidelines which are based on the general Home Office guideline for the Tier 1 visa across all fields. These include two letters of recommendations that one has to collect from what is called the "world-leaders" in the field, as well as evidence for matching the criteria presented in the documentation. There are two key and four qualifying criteria out of which a candidate chooses one key and two qualifying criteria. Because there are two sub-routes (the talent and the promise), each criterion is slightly adjusted to account for this fact: for example, the talent criterion asks for the proof of recognition as the world leader, whereas the same promise criterion asks for the proof of the potential to be such a leader. The guidance also gives some examples of how to show this evidence, however the examples are only given for the talent route, and not for the promise route which is highly confusing. The only source of truth to what is expected from a Promise is when criteria overlap between the two, such as the "continuous learning" qualifying criterion, and the "recognition of work outside of employment" key criterion. Therefore, Tech Nation has failed to provide essential information about what they expect from applicants trying to apply for the Promise route, and force them to rely on the common sense.
Due to the fact that I applied for the Promise visa, the choice of the key criterion lay between providing two examples of innovation in the field as an employee or giving the proof of work outside of immediate occupation that helped to advance the sector. Despite the fact that I made a large number of well-tested and documented Open Source packages that are innovative and serve real developers' needs, I did not choose to give evidence of the work outside of immediate employment, because I did not advertise or blog about my packages enough for them to be used by a high number of people. Instead, I put a lot of effort into developing those packages by writing the code and I knew that one day I will have such great product that it would be used by many other developers. Therefore, I played it safe and decided to provide documents supporting the first key criterion, i.e., 2 innovations in the field as an employee of a tech company. These documents included my contract showing the Senior Developer role with the salary of £50k as requested by the guidance, as well as the letter from the CTO describing my innovations: one, a conversation interface in form of a Slack chat bot that allowed to run automated browser tests of live client campaigns, and two, the implementation of automated generation of parts of front-end and private back-end APIs with JSDoc documentation for the best developer experience and productivity based on the SQL schema files.
In meeting these criteria, you must demonstrate proven commercial or technical expertise in building, using, deploying or exploiting a technology stack and building technical infrastructure.
For some reason, this requirement is not even present in the Tech Nation guidelines at all. I have shown all of the above things when giving evidence for the key, and the following qualifying criterion: to show the recognition of having the potential to be the world leader. The examples of documents for this criterion for a promise were missing as described above, but for the talent route these were either writing a book, or a letter from an eminent colleague describing my work that confirms that I led the growth of a company or a product with the lines of code or similar evidence (p.15). The pieces of evidence that I provided directly match the requirement for showing that I lead the growth of the company, but instead of acknowledging them, Tech Nation in its review only emphasises the fact that I didn't have a profile in the community which was never required by the guidance part for this criterion. It can be only because Tech Nation themselves do not understand the outlined requirement that I was trying to pass and make the key criterion 2 seem mandatory for promise applicants.
Finally, the most exciting part of the application was collecting documents for the qualifying criterion 3 asking for proof of continuous learning of new skills and technologies. Here, I could talk about me developing professional specialisation in developing Node.js packages, making of which I loved so much. I extracted data from NPM to find out the release dates of each of my packages and visualised them on a graph where each version bump would make the line on a graph go up. I also added the comments about how I started making packages 2 years ago, and then incorporated my Zoroaster testing framework and Documentary tool into making of packages, and splitting my work into multiple GitHub organisations/NPM scopes. If I was applying now, I would also mention ALaMode and that I have managed to eradicate Babel from my build pipeline and rely solely on my own solutions in making packages. To anyone who's worked as a Node.js developer before this would immediately indicate my growth as a developer and confirm that I am a skilled developer who always improves his work. I also attached the evidence of attending Google's Academy where I learnt about building Progressive Web Apps and incorporated the acquired knowledge into my infrastructure which was proved by a design of a web browser notification system that would let subscribers know when new versions of Art Deco's packages (as well as brand new packages) are released.
I was very enthusiastic about my application and I was sure that professionals in the field would appreciate the work that I've put in into building Amigo's and my own infrastructure. Because the packages that I made were not that popular, I needed some appreciation of my work and day-dreamt how an expert would look at the evidence and think something like "this guy has done really good work". Moreover, I had prepared a list of my 50+ domains that I registered to prove my learning and the potential, but it seems like I had forgotten to attach it to the application. In any way, the domains was the least feasible evidence as although it showed that I am serious about web-development, it does not take a lot of skill to register domains. So I submitted the application on the 5th of June and waited 18 working days for the decision. As a matter of fact, the decision did not come in 18 working days as promised for fast-track applicants and I had to email the Home Office asking if I could receive it soon, to which they replied saying they had chased Tech Nation to get my decision.
After submitting all evidence, one has to wait at least 18 working days for the decision to be made. In addition to the actual binary outcome of the application, the decision clearly specifies each met and not met criteria. Finally, it gives an optional feedback where more details can be learned why the Panel of Experts thought or not thought the application was strong enough to be endorsed. In this particular case, I have passed the mandatory criterion, and one of the qualifying criteria (continuous learning). I have not passed the criterion of being a WORLD LEADER. In addition, it was confirmed that I am "skilled and talented" developer, however it was also stated that the letters of recommendation were from people from the same company which is false. For each erroneous statement in the decision, I gave the description of why it was wrong in the Review Form which is a process that can be undergone when the applicant is not happy with the outcome of the decision.
Thus, it can be seen that the decision was made by an expert who acknowledged my skill and achievements, however judges me against EXCEPTIONAL TALENT criteria rather than EXCEPTIONAL PROMISE for which I applied. They also call me "they" which means there is no prejudice against me. Finally, the statement about the letters of recommendation is a mistake. In can be concluded that although erroneous, the feedback is objective and is generally positive, and if the expert did see that the application was made for the Promise option, and that the letters were from 2 distinct organisations, there is a high chance that I would have passed.
The review is the stage that happens after one is not satisfied with the decision due to some errors in it: "You may apply for an Endorsement Review if you believe that the decision to refuse your application for endorsement for Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) was incorrect." There is only one review, and no additional evidence can be given. Because I had my visa curtailed, I needed the review to be done quickly and I visited Tech Nation's RunAway co-working office which is not a normal practice. However, because no one has done such a thing before, the office manager downstairs e-mailed a person she knew was in the office when I asked her to get someone I could talk to from Tech Nation (I'm sure they now have banned this so that Tech Nation enjoys unlimited power to brush off candidates and not give them any attention at all). Two people came down: one the senior manager, and another employee accompanying her. They didn't introduce themselves, but I spoke mainly to the manager. I said there were huge mistakes to which I received no apology and the comment like "the Panel of Experts can themselves decide for the promise or talent route" which is false because why would I ever get asked if I choose the promise route in the application, and when I asked why the application was not double checked, they replied that they do double check them, which is also false. So they just lied to my face without any will to accept the responsibility for the mistakes.
I also asked how I was supposed to be a talent at 25 when I had to work so hard on implementing first versions of packages which takes so much time so that in a few years' time I am able to be the "world leader" to which I heard the answer that even younger people have done amazing things, even being their favourite word that they also used in the review which is the proof that they wrote it themselves. They were also highly categorical saying that they couldn't guarantee the endorsement instead of just apologising and promising to look at why those errors could have happened in the first place. It shows how arrogant and unprofessional they are, thinking that being the Senior Manager gives them the right to make opinions of candidates based solely on their perception that a candidate should have some kind of profile in the community like teaching kids or whatever — because they know nothing about technology, all professional skills don't mean anything to them (nor do personal achievements). In the very end of the conversation I said that I was just doing my job when making the application, and that I found it frustrating when people don't do their job properly. Judge it for yourself: my visa got curtailed, I had no right to work, limited savings and on top of that I had to move out of my apartment and find a short-term place to live without any proof of income, and still I persevered whereas Tech Nation could not even double-check my application for which I payed £456 — what kind of service is that?
This final remark of mine decided my destiny and because the manager asked me for my name, they took the matter in their own hands, and wrote me a horrible review without consulting the Panel of Experts as prescribed by the rules, thinking that the truth will never come out. Well they were wrong and every sentence of their review is a blatant lie which can be identified by anyone who cares to look and have expertise in the field. It might have worked for the Home Office who also did not do their job of checking the facts when I requested them, but it was only Tech Nation's temporal win, and this website exposes how corruptly and high-handedly they behaved. I call this chapter the crime scene because it is border line criminal to treat people like they have treated me, and each statement in the review left behind the forensic evidence that the review was not done by a professional expert in the field. Even if I am wrong about this, I was forced to hypothesise about what happened, I made the best guess because the letter between the Panel of Experts and Tech Nation similar to the decision was never shown to me, and because I don't believe an expert would write things so distant from truth as seen in the review.
The review that I requested was supposed to find and correct the mistakes in the initial decision, which were letters of recommendation and the talent option. Instead, it introduces even more errors:
We find or the Panel of Experts finds? Where is the objective decision by the Panel of Experts? Why does the initial decision say that I pass the key criterion for the Talent and not only for the Promise, i.e., that I had a proven track record of innovation, but here it says I don't have enough evidence to demonstrate it? If I had passed once, Tech Nation should not have the right to say that I don't pass anymore during the review, because they made the error and I should have such advantage as a form of compensation.
This is a direct contradiction to the decision made by the Panel of Experts where I passed the key criterion. If there are two contradictory decisions by the Panel, Tech Nation at least has to explain why I passed in the first instance, and failed in the second. Instead, they make the claim which is not supported by anything. One of the examples I gave was a conversational interface (Slack chat bot) for testing live marketing campaigns, and such interfaces are called "UI of the future" and any software that implements it should be considered an innovation otherwise nobody would ever be able to satisfy the key criterion (i.e., Tech Nation might as well have said "this person did not invent the internet therefore his work is not innovative"). Even if such bot software exists anywhere else, it does not stop my work from being innovative because it was made from scratch and is bespoke to Amigo's marketing campaigns, making it original and advanced.
I have no comment to be honest, because I don't know where the information about frameworks came from. The only "frameworks" that I ever used was Koa2 server (which is not really a framework but a server library) alongside React to support JSX server-side rendering. Still, the package that implemented the server tied these two together and introduced other functionality such as live route reload that allows to not to restart the server when a route changes — a novel feature that proves that the reason why I used Koa was to avoid reinventing the wheel because I choose carefully what I invest my time in. Secondly, the JSX rendering is done with a single function from React, which an expert should never call using a framework because frameworks lock you into using their directory structure, routines, CLI commands, etc, whereas I used the two libraries to implement my own web framework. Apart from that one package (which has now evolved into idio-core that stands out for its immediately accessible IDE documentation [check the link for GIF preview] and which I use to make websites), I never used any frameworks, and I developed the testing and documentation frameworks myself. Failing to acknowledge the fact that I made 60+ packages and saying that I used frameworks in my work is highly insulting and portrays me as some kind of Junior developer who just plays around with the technology (see the not so exceptional ambassador section about the exceptional talent who himself used so many frameworks without contributing any real Open Source products that Tech Nation wants candidates to be used by the developer community) whereas the reality is that I built the infrastructure for my company about which I talk about in my application. Also I don't understand where the requirement for the tools to be used by the community comes from — if you're going to judge me if I can or will make exceptional contributions, then look at the quality of my code and the skills that are available for evaluation in the application and are confirmed by the initial decision by the Panel of Experts where I am called "skilled and talented".
Moreover, the NPM release visualisation has node-exiftool listed as the 3rd package, and if an expert was doing their job, they would be able to check and see that it is downloaded a 1000 times a week. I was never asked to prove that my packages are used, because I was meeting the key criterion 1 regarding the innovation. The Labour party is not even the current government for Tech Nation to require me to work for the community according to the "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" communist principle. Under the Conservative government, I should be encouraged to build my own business to make a profit, and to claim that the only way I can demonstrate the potential is by having my tools downloaded is incompetent and unprofessional. Just look at documentation for my packages, and not the download count — I have done everything that I could to help people use the software, but I developed all the packages first and foremost for myself and the needs of my business so that using the community argument is offensive because the person does not understand how hard it it to be working on your own tools to provide for your future. The community will never pay your rent and the potential lies in the quality of work and the only reason the community is brought up here is because the person writing the review does not have the specialised knowledge of what it means to make packages and only expects to see the download count — the only form of evidence they can understand. Even the Home Office guidelines when describing the Promise talk about skills and achievements and NEVER mention that the tools should be used by the community. This is exactly what I meant when I called this webpage "Leftist Hostile Discrimination by Tech Nation".
To say that over 60 NPM packages with a method to bootstrap them with my own testing framework and documentation pre-processor is not a track record is to confirm to everyone that there's no understanding what a track record would look like for a Node.js developer. It is like to say to an artist that all his drawings is not a track record when his job for which he studied all his life is to paint.
This is the main piece of evidence that is conclusive of the fact that the review is unfair and unlawful. I chose the key criterion 1, the 2 innovations, whereas the review talks about the key criterion 2 which I DID NOT CHOOSE: "Proof of recognition for work outside your immediate occupation that has contributed to the advancement of the sector". with the following examples of the evidence required to meet it:
One does not have to be a developer to understand that the manager just used this argument to fail my application. It is unethical and also illegal as described in the GDPR section. With the previous bullet point, it is clear that the manager's definition of a Promise is incompatible with the Guidelines: the former (falsely) wants to see the profile whereas the latter (truly) requires to prove skills and achievements which I have done, but which is never mentioned in the review.
Here we go, their favourite "even" again. The sentence is judgemental, subjective and does not make sense: why did I prove that I built company's entire Node.js infrastructure from scratch, and don't deserve a visa, but a person with limited experience, but who has some kind of magical profile, does deserve it? Tech Nation is living in some king of bubble, and what is worst, inflating the technological bubble by inviting people with limited experience to work in the UK, while failing to accept the work that brings the real value to the sector.
Can you explain please? The is no justification to call my first referee who wrote a number of books on software development and gave a number of talks on testing in prestigious conferences not a world leader. This person has 1k followers on GitHub, and has published projects with up to 10k stars. I don't know how Mat is not the best referee that I could have ever found for this process. Just a few sentences back the reviewer was so keen on seeing a profile within the developer community, however here they completely back down. Somehow, Mike Adam, a successful serial entrepreneur is not the world leader either. The letters that I collected are from a person with a management role as well as a developer. I consider it to be a plus as it shows that not only developers can realise my potential, but people with the experience of building businesses. The only reason this statement is in the review is because the manager has unlimited power and is realising their long-term dream of making serious decisions in other people's lives after having worked as a personal assistant of 4 previous jobs.
The reviewer needs to calm down OK and leave skilled talented people alone. Unlike the decision by the Panel of Experts, the review refers to me as "he" everywhere which shows that the reviewer knows exactly who they are talking about — the information that should have been kept private to ensure fairness and transparency of the process. Tech Nation should never have been allowed to do the review in the first place, and it should have been done by a party not interested in trying to come out clean out of a situation where the errors were huge and somebody's reputation was at stake.
"We" are going to loose our job.
One of subjects I studied at King's College while doing the Master's degree in Computer Security was EU Law for IT professionals and I passed with 86%. The GDPR was there so I know a thing about it. There are three main principles in the regulation: lawfulness, fairness and transparency. The lawfulness principle not only requires my consent to process the data, but also obliges the data controller to put down on paper all specific purposes for which the data is processed. Therefore, if the purpose of recording my choice of the criteria is to record my preference and judge me according to it, Tech Nation is not allowed to judge me by other criteria. It is ironical that a company with the name Tech Nation that is sponsored by the government, thinks that it can do whatever it wants with my data. I have proved that my data was not processed according to the specific purpose of identifying whether I pass my chosen criterion or not: instead, an arbitrary criterion I did not choose was applied against me. It is unlawful and I have made a complaint to the ICO who will look into this case in about 10 week when I get assigned a case officer (I guess such long time could be because a lot of people complain against Tech Nation).
Additionally, I have made a data subject request to Tech Nation asking for essential information about how my data is stored and processed, as well as the actual data including the review letter between the Panel of Experts and Tech Nation (because I don't believe such letter exists) to ensure the transparency of the process. If they showed me the initial decision letter, then there is no reason I should be denied the second letter. Not surprisingly, my request was never fulfilled which makes Tech Nation GDPR non-compliant. I do believe the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport should sanction them for this because it's disgraceful that a company with mostly public funding should just ignore my data subject request. However, with the level of unprofessionalism that I saw, I expected to never see the answer. Now they will have to answer to the ICO and the government.
I have made a complaint to the Home Office's and this is their response:
There has been no mis-handling of data. Whilst we recognise the requirement to only collect data that is relevant to the applications as part of the application processes then the onus is on the applicant to provide all information relevant to their application. If as you have indicated, you decided to limit the information to only that information you felt was needed and this did not reach the level required for endorsement by Tech Nation then this is not a Data Protection issue.
This only means that the Data Protection Practitioner writing the email has failed to look into the details of the process and my rejection, and does not understand that I was judged by the wrong criterion which is unlawful. They say that I did not provide enough evidence but I did provide all evidence that was specified as required in the Guidance, and the reason I did not reach the level required for endorsement is only because Tech Nation has used both key criteria against me rather than followed my preference for the first criterion. Moreover, the Home Office confirms that I have the right for transparency: Under the DPA 2018, individuals have a right to any information held which shows the reasoning behind a decision. However, the only reasoning I received was "not innovative" and "not world leaders" which is a reasoning of a hostile 10-year old. The Home Office has been fully compliant with the Data Protection Act 2018 in this case and Tech Nation have advised us that they similarly have complied with all relevant legislation. — well no, they've not if they can't fulfil my data subject request. Just as I said in the beginning, the Home Office trusts Tech Nation so much and understands about the visa so little that they failed to listen to what I was saying about my data not being processed according to the law.
Apart from processing my data unlawfully, Tech Nation also processed it unfairly if their failed to spot the two initial errors in the decision by the Panel of Experts. How can it be fair when I provided the required letters from people from different companies, but the response came back saying the people are from the same company? How can it be fair when I applied for the promise route but was said not to be the world leading talent? The review is completely unfair as well because instead of looking at my skills and achievements, it says that I have no profile with the community. Finally, the process is nontransparent because there is no evidence of the communication between Tech Nation and the Panel of Experts. Tech Nation and the Home Office who is responsible for them have broken all 3 main principles of the European Directive.
Tech Nation has nominated a number of people who have received the visa to blog about the process and make it more attractive to other people. One of such ambassadors is Andrii Seleznov who has received his "Exceptional Talent" visa a few years back and who has been promoting the visa. In the rejection that I received from Tech Nation, they mention that I did not have a GitHub profile, or any track record of contributions to the community. As explained earlier, this claim is simply false because I did give the link to my GitHub and is also based on the judgement according to the key criterion 2 that asks for the profile outside of immediate employment and that I did not choose. However, one would then imagine that the ambassador, who is the Exceptional Talent, has some serious contributions to the field according to the idea of this visa. So, let's check his GitHub contributions over the past 3 years:
As we can see, most of the contributions are to private repositories and the rest of them are not real products but "demo" projects: for example, facedetect "uses ML Kit from Firebase" to detect faces (whereas my final year project was to come up with a novel computer vision algorithm based on genetic algorithms to perform the same task), MegaFizz is "Rails API + React + Elixir. Coding challenge for fizz_buzz application", Marvel is a recruitment challenge for "Streetbees Full Stack Engineer (Ruby) position". Therefore, there is literally no real work that can be used by anyone that the exceptionally talented ambassador has contributed. The majority of the commits are private and have no value to the community at all, whereas the purpose of the visa is to help drive the tech scene forward. Compared to my 100+ highly documented and tested packages including a revolutionary testing framework and documentation tool that really help developers, this person has done nothing and yet enjoys the opportunity to live and work in the UK for 3 years, after which he can settle, whereas I cannot even get a Promise visa. This is highly hypocritical of Tech Nation, and highlights the fact that they do not understand any current trends in the web development and Node.js world.
Not only that, but the ambassador has made an app to help others get the visa with the information about the scheme, that can be download off the App Store. However, only the preview can be downloaded for free, and all content is available in the premium version of the app for only £99. And it is not the only example when people try to exploit the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent scheme in their own interest and there are other ambassadors who do the same thing: Michelle Hua who sells application templates for only £99 as well, and Daniel Damilola Nejo who sells his templates for £79 (he also advertises himself as being endorsed by the UK government and not even Tech Nation which shows how much reputation one can gain from a completely irresponsible organisation like Tech Nation). OK I don't really have anything against people making money from putting some effort into writing some kinds of templates etc, but why does the Guidance from Tech Nation has to be so vague and the process so uncertain that ambassadors would be making templates to sell to people? In my world, a company that receives public money would make all information clear and accessible, however they did not even bother putting examples of evidence that needs to be provided for the Promise route in their guidance document -- is it so that their dear ambassadors have the source of income? It is highly questionable why all this infrastructure including apps and templates should spring around the visa for professionals and it makes it look childish.
The bottom line is, Tech Nation has failed to give complete, accurate and transparent information despite all the enormous funding from the UK and the seriousness of the process. They make it look like some competition or lottery in which it is not up to the applicants to provide the right evidence according to the strict list of criteria, but up to Tech Nation to arbitrary decide who fits their understanding of Talent/Promise. The Exceptional Talent ambassador has no Open Source contributions and is an ordinary person who just made an app to measure the leaf area for which he got his invitation to work in the UK for some business that hires him as an ordinary employee. And I, after having worked in the UK and thus making real contribution by helping to build a company's infrastructure, quitting it and starting my own business which has made hundreds of professional packages, do not get any acknowledgements of my achievement so far. This just shows that Tech Nation has no understanding of the real-world trends and cannot appreciate quality and innovative work, but supports some random people that have contributed nothing to either the global or UK's digital sector, and encourages them to make money by making the process cryptic, error-prone and highly subjective.
Finally, when I received my negative review, I contacted the ambassador on LinkedIn hoping that he could appreciate that I did provide the required evidence, because I considered him to be a professional. The response I got back pretty much summaries the state of affairs in Tech Nation world:
I read your message and, unfortunately, there is no way to change the order of actions now.
It definitely may happen that there was a human error on both Endorsement and Review Stage. However, we need to understand that since this visa route is quite innovative approach to solve immigration problems in the UK, there is not too many ways for appeal. And also they are not fast. Home Office usually reserves at least a couple of weeks to make a decision in any case of immigration issues.
Hence, as I suggest - the only way now is to re-apply for this visa route with other recommendation letters and better explanations of your innovations and plans regarding the UK.
If you will have any other questions - write them to me, I will do my best to clarify them. Do not give up, Anton, and good luck with your future decisions.
You know things are great at your endorsing body when your ambassador confirms that the endorsement process for a visa (which can play the key role in one's life) is definitely error prone and that there's nothing to do about it. He suggested I get another recommendation letters as if I can just pick them up at any High Street shop. Although I appreciate his willingness to help with the process again, his message proved the point that ambassadors are not in any position to defend interest of applicants and the status of the visa, but are only hired by Tech Nation to be part of their unfair game and make some cash for themselves.
I've been really fed up with the state of the world today, where everybody lacks competence, confidence and is coarsely unprofessional, yet think of themselves like they're the smartest people on earth. My self-assurance does not stem from the fact that I'm full of oneself, but because I work and I work a lot. Just like anyone, I have a full-time job working on my software, and although it might not be popular right now (thanks again Tech Nation for using this fact to take the mic out of my application), I don't care. I have the aim to become financially independent and that's what I'm going to be in a few years, and the reason for that is that I produce software of outstanding quality while focusing on the results and practicality, whereas everyone else around me is talking of imaginary concepts that don't matter to the end result. I don't need to be part of any community like Tech Nation claims, because I don't choose to waste time that I could use for some programming and making the world a better place once at a time. It's become clear to me, that anybody on the internet can call themselves a programmer, and education and being a trained scientist and a software engineer does not even matter nowadays, like Tech Nation has proved. However, the sun does not need anyone's approval to know how great it is, and for me, having the ability to be creative for Open Source and apply my intelligence in making packages and websites is what is important, not seeking somebody's approval. Unfortunately, it is not a popular belief system anymore, because today people will just get in groups, call themselves communities and hide their incompetence either in question of life, including spiritual enlightenment, as well as professional matters, by trying to reassure themselves that they are part of the group so that group-think is what is really needed to be safe in life. I don't need any of that, and I want to be and think different and for and by myself.
—Let us look each other in the face. We are Hyperboreans—we know well enough how remote our place is. “Neither by land nor by water will you find the road to the Hyperboreans”: even Pindar, in his day, knew that much about us. Beyond the North, beyond the ice, beyond death—our life, our happiness.... We have discovered that happiness; we know the way; we got our knowledge of it from thousands of years in the labyrinth. Who else has found it?—The man of today?—“I don’t know either the way out or the way in; I am whatever doesn’t know either the way out or the way in”—so sighs the man of today.... This is the sort of modernity that made us ill,—we sickened on lazy peace, cowardly compromise, the whole virtuous dirtiness of the modern Yea and Nay. This tolerance and largeur of the heart that “forgives” everything because it “understands” everything is a sirocco to us. Rather live amid the ice than among modern virtues and other such south-winds!...
Tech Nation discriminated against me simply because of the unlimited authority that they enjoy, and decided to ruin my life without any consideration for my talent and achievements. I can't just find another employer in the UK because it would simply be torturous to me to work for someone when I know I have to be working on my own business. It's psychologically impossible for me, and I have my right to claim that for the amount, quality and innovative nature of my work. Moreover, I will never be able to find another letters of recommendations and the ones I had were really good ones, but Tech Nation does not accept them without any further explanations.
In September 2018, it would have been 10 years since I entered the UK, and I could have applied for settlement that allows to stay in the country without a visa. Tech Nation has destroyed all efforts of my father to put me through British education and secure the right for life in the UK, as well as my efforts to study hard and work hard to be able to settle in the UK. And they did it so simply because of their ignorance, lack of understanding of both technology and the Tier 1 Exceptional Promise purpose and its persona. They say it is my fault that I did not provide the required evidence, but it is false. They did it because the Senior Manager thinks they can make whatever decision they want and choose who joins the elite Tech Nation visa club, although all they are is just clerks without any Computer Science education or specialised knowledge of the state of art in the field. This is the list of all Tech Nation's and its Panel of Experts faults, most of which are intentional and discriminatory specifically against me:Panel of Experts
I am easily the best Node.js developer that applied for the promise visa in 2018: I have built start-up's essential Node.js infrastructure from scratch and single-handedly with full documentation and test coverage. I have also contributed massively to the community by creating packages that solve real problems and are the only alternatives to an established industry standard (the Alamode package transpiles import/export statements with regular expressions compared to Babel that is downloaded millions of times a week and performs expensive computations to build ASTs). There are thousands of examples when a technological or scientific innovation had not been accepted by the society because of outdated dogmas of the time, and the inventors were subjected to torture and death for trying to improve everyone else's lives. The fact that a Senior Manager feels so confident to say that my work is not innovative only highlights how outstanding it is and their claim that my NPM packages that I made from scratch are software made using frameworks (the single buzzword the manager can understand) and are not a track record is a slap in the face of the whole Node.js community that I represent in my application.
Tech Nation cut me off from my partner in England, from my business and even from my clothes and Art Deco books that I put in the storage — I had applied for a tourist visa to get some winter clothes and see my girlfriend, but because I live at home with no spendings and no income, my application was rejected because it wasn't convincing that I would leave the country. Although Tech Nation might enjoy their temporary win of trying to get rid of me by deception, genuine specialists in the field will easily see that the endorsing body shamelessly lied about sending my application to the Panel of Experts for the review. Even if it did happen, which is highly doubtable, then the expert from that panel does not have the right to be there. Everything will come true when this website is shared by true developers with understanding of what it takes to build quality software in pursue of the dream of running a software house, and is ranked first in the "Tech Nation Visa" search query. Tech Nation has brought shame on itself and made the visa one big joke, they don't deserve the right to call it "Tech Nation Visa" because their incompetence and unethical practice have been exposed. The industry players including small and big companies will now forever know that the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent/Promise Visa does not mean that the person is exceptional at all. When an Exceptional Talent (see the ambassador section) has zero contributions to the Open Source, and I cannot receive the Promise visa because my packages "are not track record", there is no justice in the process and meaning to the title received by other visa holders. Finally, let me finish with the quote from the Grace of Monaco film that relates to the situation when some powerful entity such as Tech Nation tries to destroy someone's life and work just because they can.
I believe that the world will not always be full of hatred and conflict, if we’re willing to sacrifice enough. That is what
MonacoNode.js package means to me. And in a way, that’s why I am MonacoNode.js package. I have no army. I wish ill on no one. “I bear no resistance to aggression”. I’m here doing what I do, trying to make a little difference in the world in the best way that I know how. But it wouldn’t be real life, or it wouldn’t be the fairytale, if there wasn’t someone trying to destroy it, or crush it, simply because it doesn’t please them, or simply because they can. I know that some of you think it’s their right to do so. But I don’t think anyone should have the right to crush happiness or beauty when they see it. That’s not how I was raised. That’s not the world I wish to be a part of.