The UK government has given the green light to 50 more immigration visas for foreign technology workers, assuaging concerns that Britain’s exit from the European Union will restrict access to workers with talent.Tech City UK, the government organization that processes applications for the special visa, has now been okay ed to approve 250 visas this year, an increase from the 200 it was originally assigned. The decision follows a rise in demand for the visas following last June’s Br exit vote.Established by David Cameron’s government in 2010, Tech City UK’s objective has been to prop up the growing tech industry in the UK, with the Tech Nation visa being introduced in 2014 in response to a shortage of skilled coders among British start ups.
This measure comes in the wake of the increasing demand for visas following the Br exit vote and as concerns rose in the technology sector that the exit of UK from Europe will make it tougher for it to recruit skilled foreign workers.
Introduced in 2014, the ‘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.