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UK Welcomes Tech Expats with New Visa Process

In a time when so many countries around the world are making expats jump through ever more hoops, the UK has taken the opposing stance.

Now a new policy promises to make moving to the UK for work that much simpler for the most talented workers. It is important to note that these new regulations are designed to attract top talent in the tech sector, rather than covering the entire job market.

The British Conservative government has made no secret of the fact that they see Britain’s future as a hub of global technology and is taking steps to help the UK to maintain its current position in the market.

One essential aspect of this industry is the ability to attract the very finest talent from around the world. In light of this a number of new Visa regulations aim to make immigration for such individuals as simple and speedy as possible.

In such a way the UK should be able to become a magnet for programmers, designers and other high-level tech workers.

The UK already boasts a successful Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa program, allowing easy entry into the UK tech sector. Now, however, the program has been broadened to include a range of additional groups.

The first such criterion aims to tackle the sticky situation of when fast-growing tech companies need to increase their staffing quickly, such as after a round of venture capital facilitates rapid growth in order to reach agreed ROI targets. Under such circumstances the government’s five Designated Competent Bodies may fast-track Visa applications from relevant individuals.

The second new policy is designed to handle situations when a tech firm needs to hire a large team in a short space of time, whereupon groups of individuals will be able to apply together. As a result it will be possible to attract established teams from overseas who can also receive their visas at the same time and so immigrate en masse.

The third option applies to those individuals not necessarily required at short notice, but rather who show “exceptional promise”. In order to secure these individuals for the UK tech scene, rather than risking losing them to competing overseas employers, such individuals may be rapidly pushed through the system, granted rapid access to the UK employment market.

The final change relates to a speeding up of the process for talent heading for specific cities in the north of England. At present much of the global tech talent arriving in the UK is focused in the South East; however the government see the north as having huge potential. As a result those companies in seven pre-approved cities will be able to receive special dispensation when hiring from outside the UK.

All in all this seems like very good news for non-UK expats, for tech firms and for the larger British economy. The new policies go into action this month so it will be interesting to track just how much of an impact they have on the British tech culture.

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