The Tech Nation Visa Scheme allows UK digital businesses to hire exceptional tech talent from outside the EU. It also allows exceptionally talented applicants to come and work in the UK, allowing the digital economy in this country to scale efficiently. We’ve interviewed some of the individuals who’ve been through the scheme – starting with Wenzhe Shi
What is your background?
I first came to UK for a final year exchange program between Fudan University and Birmingham University in 2006. This then led me to complete an MSc with Distinction in Computer Science at Imperial College London, where I completed my PhD in medical image analysis in 2012. Over the last ten years I have built a track record as a world leading talent in computer vision and medical image analysis with 72 papers and near 400 citations. I also built web and mobile applications based on my research that are used by millions of consumers.
Why did you apply to come to the UK over other countries?
At the time of application, I was working for IXICO under a Tier 2 General visa as a software engineer. I was invited by my previous lab mate to join him and his co-founder and work for Magic Pony Technology. I saw this as a unique opportunity to apply my skillset and create a technically innovative company in London.
I was also aware of the risk involved in a startup in terms of sponsoring and support a visa in the long term. Applying for the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent route seemed like a rational choice and compared to the Tier 2 General visa, it offered the big advantage of enabling me to work wherever I am needed most across the entire science and engineering spectrum.
What your current plans are now that your visa has been granted?
I am now working on building Magic Pony Technology with its co-founders Zehan Wang and Rob Bishop. We believe that the product we work on will have a great impact on the digital economy in the UK. With no category restriction on my visa, I also work closely with BioMedia group and the Robert Steiner MR unit at Imperial developing new cardiac image analysis tools to fight against cardiac diseases in the UK as a part-time medical image analysis specialist.