As the Prime Minister Theresa May meets leading digital entrepreneurs and innovators today, the Government has announced several measures to support the UK’s world-class tech sector, including a commitment to double the number of visas available to the brightest and best talent from around the world, including in digital technology.
Commenting on the expansion of the number of visas available, Antony Walker, deputy CEO at techUK, said:
“Doubling the number of visas available to tech is a welcome and practical step towards supporting the UK’s fastest growing sector. As our economy continues to digitise, more and more businesses depend upon tech talent to support their growth. This isn't just a London phenomenon. There is going to be huge demand for tech skills in businesses right across the country.
“For the announcement to be truly valuable, however, the Government must couple it with further flexibility on Tier 2 high skilled talent. It must also address concerns about the speed and costs associated with Tier 1 and 2 visas to ensure they can be used by companies large and small.
In relation to the UK's immigration system post-Brexit, Antony Walker, went on to say:
“While this announcement shows the UK’s desire to be open to talent once we leave the EU, it alone will not compensate for the impact of Brexit. There is still a huge amount of work to do to clarify the rights of EU citizens that already work in the sector and to build a fit-for-purpose immigration system once we leave the EU. We ultimately need a light-touch UK/EU visa system based on an ‘ESTA for work’ model where companies can quickly and easily self-certify EU workers taking on roles.
“International tech talent makes a huge contribution to the UK economy. For every ten highly skilled jobs that are created an additional four lower skilled jobs are created. The tech sector is increasingly the backbone of the economy, and making sure it can thrive post-Brexit is in everyone’s interest.”
“For a services-exporting tech sector, we need a kind of arrangement similar to what David Davis spoke of yesterday to enable the mobility of workers and professionals across the continent. Exporting tech services depends on our ability to temporarily locate staff across Europe for both delivery and support.”
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