Most non-EEA professionals work in the United Kingdom under a Tier 2 visa, which is how I immigrated / expatriated from the US in 2016. In 2018 the UK issued over 50,000 Tier 2 general and inter-company transfer visas. It’s similar to the United States H1-B visa and South Korea E-7 visa. The Tier 1 isn’t quite a green card or F-5, but it does allow the holder to work and live in the UK without a corporate sponsor.
The UK makes 2,000 Tier 1 – Exceptional Talent visas available annually across the fields of science, engineering, humanities, medicine, digital technology, the arts, fashion, architecture, and film and television. In 2018, 528 were issued and I estimate about half of those are for digital, split evenly between “talent” (based on what you’ve done — this is what I’ve been granted) and “promise” (based on what you will do in your career).
If you are considering this visa, there are a lot of good write-ups out there regarding people’s experience with the process and Parliament acknowledges that you don’t need to be a potential Nobel Prize winner to apply. UK Visas and Immigration has thankfully made the entire application digital and the user experience is fairly straightforward. The biggest unavoidable drawback are the fees — the NHS may not have co-pays but immigrants must pay a hefty surcharge as a condition of residency. Regardless, I’m happy to continue contributing to the UK economy, even with its 45% income tax and Brexit uncertainty.
Many thanks to the people who helped support my application: Jeff Dachis, Dion Hinchcliffe, Ray Wang, and Jessica Gioglio.