Fifty extra IT visas floated for foreign talent

Concerns of UK tech bosses that Brexit might make it harder to fill their ranks with overseas talent have been slightly allayed, as an extra batch of IT visas are in the pipeline.

In fact, Tech City UK has been given the go-ahead to endorse a reported 50 additional applicants to its Tier 1 visa programme this year, taking the total number to 250.

Introduced in 2014, the visas for “Exceptional Talent” initially failed to gain traction, but changes to eligibility criteria in November 2015 had a “positive impact”, an update says.

For the year from April 2016, the update adds that 170 visas have so far been issued, meaning only 30 could still be available until this April because 200 was, until now, their full capacity.

In light of this strong demand, and given that other Tier 1 Exceptional Talent bodies chose not to up their allocations, Tech City has been handed 50 extra slots, the Telegraph reported.

Like those other bodies, such as the Royal Academy of Engineering, Tech City can endorse applications and, if endorsed, an applicant can submit their visa request to the Home Office.

Meanwhile, research from techUK shows that almost a fifth of the UK technology sector’s three million workers are “foreign-born,” with one third of those from EU countries.

A report the group published last month adds that workers from outside the EU accounted for almost 30 per cent of the UK technology sector’s new workers between 2009 and 2015.

Some contractors seeking work might not want that proportion to increase, as IT recruiters last month found not a single technology skill to be in short supply on a temporary basis.  

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