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Government’s new fast-track visa scheme to attract best international talent to the UK

UK government fixes troubled visa scheme following complaints from tech companies that couldn't find any British technologists to hire

Many brilliant tech brains have been locked out of the UK due to legal complications but the government has now acted to make it easier for companies to hire outside of the EU by announcing changes to its working visa scheme. The changes have been announced by Tech City, the government-funded organisation that supports digital businesses in the UK.

Changes to the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa have been made, including a new ‘team application’ that will allow firms to hire up to five people outside the EU at once.

The new visa scheme makes it much easier for UK companies to hire foreigners skilled in things like artificial intelligence and machine learning, while businesses in the North get fast-track privileges.

A major talent shortage in the UK and Europe forces many companies to look globally for the best people to join their workforce.  Doctors, nurses, teachers are also locked out of the country, as are accountants, solicitors and management consultants.

Tech City has carried out a range of consultation workshops and based on this feedback the government has allowed four new qualifying criteria to ensure the UK maintains its position as a globally competitive technology powerhouse.

Commenting on the updated scheme, Ed Vaizey, 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.”

Eileen Burbidge, chair of Tech City, added:

“Engaging with the digital business community to ensure the government is offering practical support to accelerate company growth is what Tech City UK is about, and these revisions to the visa programme address the highest priority for all company founders — that of growing and scaling a business with the best talent from around the world.”

The full criteria and application process for the new scheme will go live on 12 November 2015.

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