Britain doubles number of visas for talented individuals

by Ray Clancy on November 16, 2017

The British Government wants to attract more talented people to move to the UK and has announced that the number of visas for individuals who show promise in technology, science, art and creative industries is being doubled.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said that the move is part of a realisation that innovative industries are vital for the future growth of the country and they need to be able to attract people from around the world.

Union Jack

(Bashutskyy/Shutterstock.com

The announcement means that the number of visas available through the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route is increasing from 1,000 to 2,000 a year with the aim being to make sure that the UK remains at the forefront of these world leading industries.

‘Increasing the number of visas for these sectors will make sure that we continue to be at the heart of world culture and forefront of digital and scientific advances,’ said Rudd.

‘The UK’s innovative industries, including the thriving digital technology sector, are at the centre of our industrial strategy and making sure that businesses in these fields have access to exceptional talent from across the world is vitally important,’ she explained.

She added that she will be meeting with technology experts to seek their input on making sure that the nation’s visa processes are as efficient as possible.

The 2,000 visas will be made available to individuals who are recognised as existing global leaders or promising future leaders in the digital technology, science, arts and creative sectors by at UK endorsing organisations which include Tech City UK, the Arts Council England, the British Academy, the Royal Society, and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Matt Clifford, chief executive of Entrepreneur First, welcomed the announcement. ‘We cannot ignore the fact that our digital and tech economy cannot survive on home grown talent alone and is substantially boosted by exceptional foreign individuals who have chosen to build their businesses in the UK,’ he said.

‘If London is to continue being the European hub for tech, and if it is to grow to rival other internationally significant tech centres, we must ensure the UK becomes an increasingly welcoming hub for European Union and non-EU nationals alike,’ he pointed out.

The Home Office explained that the current allocations of the 1,000 visas, which are split between the five endorsing organisations, will remain and the additional places will be made available across all of the endorsing bodies dependent on need.

The Government is keen to ensure that all nations and regions of the UK benefit from this change. The Home Office will look at how it can work with organisations across the UK to ensure wider take up of these visas outside London.

A spokesman said that the announcement is part of the government’s ongoing reforms to routes to the UK from outside the EU. Ahead of the UK leaving the EU, the Home Office has also commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee to advise on the impact of the UK’s exit from the EU on the labour market. The results of the commission, which was published in July, will help shape the Government’s decisions on the future immigration system.

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