Is it possible for a non-EU national to visit the UK (on a tourist visa) to participate in a hackathon? The definition of a hackathon is:
A hackathon (also known as a hack day, hackfest or codefest) is an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development and hardware development, including graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, collaborate intensively on software projects.
At the end of hackathons, there is usually a series of demonstrations in which each group presents their results. There is sometimes a contest element as well, in which a panel of judges select the winning teams, and prizes are given.
Winning in a hackathon means the participant would receive a certain prize (usually monetary), which could potentially be equivalent to work. Another complication is that some hackathons provide travel reimbursement, which is essentially a small stipend to cover the costs of getting to the event.
Therefore the following three questions arise:
- Is it legal for a tourist to participate in a hackathon?
- Can they claim a prize during the process?
- Can they receive travel reimbursement for coming to the event?