As we prepare to leave the EU, we must ensure that the future immigration system reflects the needs of UK businesses and the economy.
techUK’s Skills, Talent and Diversity programme aims to ensure that the future immigration system works for the tech sector, which is growing at six times the rest of the economy.
Access to talent remains the number one issue for techUK’s members. It is therefore crucial that the UK remains an attractive destination for this talent. That includes creating an immigration system that is quick, efficient and welcoming.
The Migration Group supports techUK in creating the tech sector’s desired outcomes from both the current and future migration system. Within the Brexit context, we have a unique opportunity to help Government reshape the UK’s immigration system both in terms of our relationship with the EU but also with the rest of the world. The Migration Group provides a forum for members to discuss the needs of the tech sector and our asks of the future system. Membership of the group is diverse with experts from our members’ HR, public policy and recruitment departments.
techUK wins - The future immigration system includes many aspects of techUK's successful campaign outreach and engagement:
- techUK has successfully campaigned to get two-year post-study work visa reinstated which will be launched as a Graduate route in Summer 2021. This is an important step forward in creating a fair and managed immigration system.
- Government agreed to lower the minimum salary threshold down from proposed £30,000 - techUK submitted evidence calling for this to the Migration Advisory Committee, an independent advisory public body sponsored by the Home Office, exploring the future salary thresholds and potential for points-based immigration system.
- Called for the removal of the cap on talent on Tier 2 general visa routes and removal of the Resident Labour Market Test which significantly hampered the ability of the tech sector to recruit talent in the past. The removing of these policies was announced in Government's 2020 policy statement and has also been extended to the Global Talent visa and post-study work visa which is wholly welcome.
- Proposed lowering the skill level required for entry to RQF Level 3 - The tech sector is a high-skill industry, but it requires the best and the brightest from all skill levels. techUK has long campaigned to reduce the salary and skill levels of any future system.
- Pushed for allowing migrants to switch visas in country - Under the Points-Based System, the Home Office will allow most migrants to apply to switch from one immigration route to another without having to leave the UK. This will support employers in retaining the talented staff that they have invested in and includes the Graduate route. This is something techUK has long campaign for.
Home Office extended visas for those affected by COVID-19 - The Home Office announced that it will extend the visas of people unable to return to their home countries due to COVID-19. Foreign nationals whose UK visas expire after 24 January 2020 and are unable to leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to COVID-19 will have their visas extended to 31 May 2020.
- techUK has published its asks of the post-Brexit immigration system - developing a set of proposals based on the principles that we believe are necessary to support the UK’s thriving tech sector. techUK members are making significant investments to skill the domestic pipeline of future tech talent and their current workforce, with much being done regarding upskilling, retraining and lifelong learning, but there is an immediate need for skilled labour in the tech sector.
- The UK’s Points-Based Immigration System – a techUK analysis of Home Office documents and comment by CEO Julian David.
- techUK provided written evidence to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee of the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2019-21. Read the full written evidence submitted by techUK (IB20) to the House of Commons Scrutiny Unit.
- Consultation on tech occupations in shortage for immigration system - techUK provided a response to the Migration Advisory Committee Call for Evidence on the Shortage Occupation List - RQF Levels 3-5 (medium skill).
- Lower minimum salary threshold for future UK immigration system - The Migration Advisory Committee has published its recommendations on the UK’s future immigration system. Read techUK’s analysis and comment by Deputy CEO Antony Walker.
techUK responsed to the Migration Advisory Committee call for evidence to advise on the future system of salary thresholds and points-based system.
techUK is a part of the Home Office’s Employer Advisory Group and SME engagement group, government engagement groups looking at post-Brexit immigration policy and the development and design of the future immigration system, and will continue to work on members' behalf. techUK has provided numerous immigration briefings to Members of Parliament and key stakeholders.