Responding to the Conservative Party proposal to double the Tier 2 £1000 Immigration Skills charge ahead of the launch of the Conservative Manifesto, Antony Walker, Deputy CEO of techUK, commented:
“Today’s announcement of the doubling of the immigration skills charge is unwelcome news for UK tech firms. With domestic shortages in critical tech roles ever more pronounced, this move is another barrier for scaling companies accessing the talent they need to grow. Global Britain must be powered by a new wave of dynamic, innovative companies – now is not the time to pull up the drawbridge further.
“The vast majority of demand for Tier 2 skilled worker visas comes from the UK’s most digitally-intensive sectors. The UK’s start-ups and SMEs are crying out for more talent – from cyber security specialists, to big data analysts, to software developers – and are already facing uncertainty on securing talent from the EU. These are roles already recognised as a national shortage by the Government’s own independent Migration Advisory Committee. The UK needs to continue to welcome growth-generating talent from around the world. Unfortunately today’s announcement will be seen as additional barrier to high-skilled recruitment, and sends a worrying signal at a time of uncertainty.
“techUK has previously called for the £250m per year raised by the current Immigration Skills Charge introduced in April to be explicitly targeted at investing in high-value domestic digital skills initiatives. However, the Government must think carefully to strike the right balance here. A additional tax on talent risks undermining a vision for an open, innovative Global Britain.”
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