Surge in tech visa applications amid post-Brexit uncertainty

The Tech Nation Global Talent Visa for the UK has a significant rise in applications in the last two years, and the numbers are expected to rise further as the UK leaves the European Union at the end of this year.

The Tech Nation Global Talent Visa – a government visa administered by industry body Tech Nation - enables IT pros to move to the UK to work for IT firms or set up their own businesses.

It has seen a 45 per cent rise in applications and 48 per cent rises in the two years since November 2018. In those two years, Tech Nation has received a total of 1,975 applications and endorsed 920 visas from over 50 countries worldwide.

“Demand is expected to increase in 2021 with the EU coming under the scheme,” said Tech Nation, although it hasn't so far said how it will cope with the expected steep increase in demand for visas from EU countries after Brexit.

The visa has actually been available since 2014, and 52 per cent of those endorsed since then are employees at some of the UK's leading tech firms, while 28 per cent are tech founders.

In 2020, the visa enabled 421 founders to set up business in the UK, up from 400 in 2019.

In total, 41 per cent of endorsed applicants for the visa are based outside of London.

App and software development, AI and machine learning and FinTech are the most popular sector destinations for visa holders.

India, the US and Nigeria are the top three countries from where the approved visa holders have come from.

Stephen Kelly, chair of Tech Nation, said: “Despite the pandemic, international interest to work in the UK tech sector has never been higher. Attracting tomorrow’s tech leaders to the UK is crucial to the continued growth of the sector.”

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