Professional Services

Tech visas revamped to fill skills gap

Using laptop - applying for visas - SantanderCB

The rules on visas for foreign technology specialists are to be radically overhauled after complaints from industry giants and start-ups that they were struggling to recruit enough staff to match their growth. The government is due to make it easier for non-EU citizens with specialist technology skills to enter the country for work by introducing a series of new ways to meet the criteria. The relaxation, due to come into effect next month, has been agreed in response to concerns that a scheme originally unveiled by the PM nearly two years ago has failed to meet the needs of fast-growing tech companies. Tech City, the taxpayer-funded organisation created to champion Britain's digital sector, and promote and administer the special visa route, said it had received a total of only 19 applications and approved just 17. It has capacity for 200 per year. Although research consistently identifies a demand for software coders in the UK and a fiercely competitive international market, Tech City received fewer applications than other bodies given special powers to endorse Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visas, including the Arts Council and the Royal Society. Critics said the process was too bureaucratic for small companies to navigate.

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