More technology visas granted after fears of worker shortage

The Government will grant more visas to technology workers in a major boost to the industry’s attempts to secure access to overseas talent after the Brexit vote.

Tech City UK, the government organisation that processes applications for the special visa, has been granted the right to endorse 250 immigration visas this year, 50 more than it had originally been allocated.

The move comes after surging demand for the visas following the EU referendum and amid concerns in the technology industry that Britain’s exit from Europe will make it harder to hire talented foreign workers.

‘Tech Nation’ visa was envisioned to plug the skilled coders’ shortage among the tech firms’ start-ups in the UK.

Though the requirements were initially seen as taxing, attracting only a few applications, the rules were made more convenient in late 2015, causing applications to surge since the referendum in 2016. In the current fiscal, which lasts up to 6 April, over 170 tech visas were granted by the Home Office, which is likely to touch the original cap of 200 in a few weeks.

Gerard Grech, chief executive of Tech City UK, was quoted by the Telegraphy as saying that by increasing the number to 250, it was clearly demonstrated that the UK Government had positively responded to IT sector’s demand for increased access to foreign talent.

Grech said that they were happy to note that the Home Office was able to proactively address concerns over how Britain could keep attracting the requisite skills to the needs of its tech sector by letting Tech City UK grant more visas to highly skilled workers. He added that Tech City UK would urge for a further addition in the next fiscal year.

One of the six visas under ‘Tier 1 Exceptional Talent’ type, the Tech Nation visa is also available for graduates of engineering, science, medicine, humanities and the arts.

A new report of tech UK, an industry body, revealed that 28 percent of the new techies who joined this sector during 2009-2015 belonged to countries outside the EU.