The move (Part 2): Getting the global talent visa
I decided to opt for a Master's program. After my studies, I applied for the Tier one exceptional talent based on my entrepreneurial track record and a new digital product, a DIY home furnishing app in the pipeline that addresses the UK home furnishing market. The success rate for visa endorsement in 2019 was barely 22%, and much harder for women in tech. I tried the first in November and quickly got no response. This led to severe anxiety, as I wasn't sure I saw any other way around remaining in the UK. A friend of mine who was in a similar situation in the US said to me, Foluke, whatever you do, ensure it doesn't include going back to Nigeria. His words stuck with me.
I decided to give it a second try, working with a renowned consultant who had become an advocate for the exceptional talent visa. I had engaged Michelle Hua earlier in the process, but the thought of paying her £4500 for her service was way beyond me. I had spent all I had on my school fees and living costs in London. After receiving the rejection feedback, I paid her for a review session. Her feedback was that I had a 5% chance of success if I challenged it. However, she mentioned the application could succeed if we worked around it and resubmitted it. She offered an encouraging discount, and I made the best decision to work with her. We started immediately and worked collaboratively, gathering documents and writing for the next fortnight. Between submission and feedback is a story for another day. It was probably the longest and coldest Christmas I ever had. Gosh, I hate waiting periods. I bet no one does.
I submitted my application at 9.29 pm on the 20th of December 2019 and got feedback on the 17th of January 2020. Three and half longest weeks of my life. The mail had dropped in my inbox at 10.30 am. Guys, it was successful. I became a different person, not changing anything, but those fears that had become a regular part of my existence became a thing of the past. I have just been endorsed as a talent in the digital technology category. This endorsement would lead to a visa with many possibilities. Yes!
Don't get me wrong, Nigeria has its possibilities. But, if, like me, you have been a victim of bad economic policies, socio-economic degradation and corruption, you will understand why this opportunity is essential. It affords me many more possibilities. But personally, it is the beginning of an arduous journey to the unfamiliar world of '9 to 5' and the uphill battle of career transitioning. (Stay tuned).