Tech City UK will today announce the Tech Nation Visa Scheme, an evolution of the dedicated route for helping businesses in the digital technology sector to attract and secure world-class talent from outside the EU.
Based on direct feedback from the digital business community, four new qualifying criteria have been added to ensure that the UK continues to maintain its position as a globally competitive digital powerhouse. This direct community feedback has been crystallised into the addition of four new qualifying criteria for the UK’s technology sector:
1. Building UK Scale-ups:
As scale-ups become ever more crucial to the growth of the UK digital economy, Tech City UK has included a specific provision to help companies get the talent they need to scale quickly. Whether it’s expertise in taking a company IPO, or individuals with very specific technical knowledge, such as development operations and cyber security, the Tech Nation Visa Scheme will provide a scale-up fast-track route that will enable rapidly growing companies to access the right talent and smooth their path to success.
2. Recognising ‘Exceptional Promise’
The new Tech Nation Visa Scheme will now also consider applications from individuals that demonstrate ‘Exceptional Promise’, a criterion that will open the route to a broader base of aspiring talent from outside the EU. This provision will help companies recruit the highly skilled individuals needed to fill specific talent gaps.
3. Powering the Northern Powerhouse
The 2015 Tech Nation report found that over 170,000 people work in digital technology businesses across the North of England. The Tech Nation Visa Scheme will now include a fast-track applications procedure for digital businesses in the seven cities under the Tech North remit (Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Sunderland).
Like Tech City UK, Tech North will now also provide a visa support service to offer guidance and advice to companies wanting to hire someone from overseas.
4. Recruiting Teams from Overseas:
Recognising that digital businesses often seek to recruit entire teams of exceptional individuals from outside the EU who have demonstrated success, a new revision to the Scheme will cater for this. It is planned that groups of up to five will be able to apply at once for consideration, allowing UK digital businesses to attract high calibre and high performing teams that have a proven track record of creativity, collaboration and commercial vision.
Commenting on the updated Scheme, Rt Hon Ed Vaizey MP, the Minister for the Digital Economy, said: “The Digital technology sector is a core building block of the Government’s plans to support an internationally competitive Northern Powerhouse as well as the UK’s leadership in digital innovation. Today’s announcement furthers that strategy. This new Visa Scheme will support fast growth digital businesses in their quest to bring the best and brightest to British shores as we continue to stake our claim as a Tech Nation on the global stage.”
Claire Braithwaite, CEO, Tech North, said: “Since our launch we have heard directly from both startups and large tech companies about the importance of being able attract advanced tech and enterprise experience from a global talent pool. The new advice and endorsement service offered by Tech North will provide valuable and timely advice to support our companies and their hires through this process, which we know is often business critical. We look forward to welcoming the worlds brightest and best to our Northern cities.”
Tech North is part of Tech City UK, one of five Designated Competent Bodies appointed by the Home Office to review applications from individuals wishing to enter the country under Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa route. The organisation evaluates applications in the area of Digital Technology.
The new scheme is expected to go live before the new year.
The new Tech Nation Visa Scheme is subject to continued iteration and as a result may change for applicants applying in future years.