Call for fast-track visas for tech talent

Skills shortages means competition for technology and fintech talent is fierce so business leaders are calling for fast-track visas for tech individuals after Brexit.

Tech startup team
Nikolay Storonsky, the founder of digital challenger bank Revolut, is calling on the UK government to issue special visas for fintech professionals to ensure that the UK does not lose talent to EU rivals after Brexit.

Calls for fast-track tech visas to avoid Brexit talent loss to EU

While London remains the top destination in Europe for international tech talent, Mr Storonsky, who says that 70 per cent of Revolut's tech team comes from abroad, wants ministers to introduce a fast-tracked visa process for technology workers - particularly within software development and data science - to ensure the City retains its dominant position.He also points out that the City of London plays host to Europe's largest community of software developers, mainly thanks to major engineering hubs established by the likes of Google and Facebook.“With all of the political uncertainty kicking off right now, lengthy immigration processes and bureaucracy will only slow down the UK fintech industry’s growth, and we risk losing out on the best talent to other EU countries such as Germany and France,” Mr Storonsky says.

London hosts Europe's largest community of software developers

Michael Kent founder and CEO at app based remittance provider Azimo, which is based in London, told Computer Weekly that he agreed that there was a shortage of UK talent.“Access to talent is a huge and on-going problem – the fintech sector relies heavily on global talent to plug the serious skills gap facing this country,” he said, pointing out that, of Azimo's 135 staff, roughly 85 per cent were abroad, mainly from Europe.“We need to ensure we continue to maintain a good environment for businesses while also making people feel welcomed to build lives here.”

Access to talent is a major challenge for fintech sector

Gavin Sewell chief executive at Insurtech Honcho, based in NE England, said the challenge of attracting talent went beyond London.“We have a strong fintech industry not only in London, but across the rest of the UK, and the challenges faced in London are also faced, and perhaps to a greater extent, across the rest of the UK. For example, in the North East we have shining lights such as Atom Bank,” he said.“Whilst I share some of Storonsky’s concerns, I am not sure they are quite the same concerns. I do believe we have a serious shortage of home-grown technology talent across the full spectrum of technology disciplines in the UK.“I would very much like to see a simple and quick talent and demand related visa system implemented post-Brexit that will allow UK technology businesses to quickly and easily hire talent from abroad (EU and rest of world equally) where they are unable to fill those roles locally. This is an absolute must for me and I am therefore concerned about recruitment post Brexit if the right kind of visa system is not implemented.”

Shortage of British born talent is across whole technology sector

Andrius Sutas, CEO and co-founder of biometric identity management software supplier AimBrain, told Computer Weekly that the skills shortage was particularly pronounced in computer sciences such as machine learning, AI and robotics.“Despite having some of the world’s best universities in the UK, competition for top tier talent continues to be brutal,” he said, pointing out that more than half of AimBrain’s workforce came from outside of the UK.“The routes into tech careers are getting much clearer and more inclusive, which will help in the long term. However, the government didn’t spot the skills gap until too late and so ‘fixes’ like specialist tech visas could help in the short term.”Enter the 2019 Relocate Awards in-text bannerSubscribe to Relocate Extra, our monthly newsletter, to get all the latest international assignments and global mobility news.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory

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