UK tech seeks to capitalise on US visa bans

The UK's tech sector is trying to lure overseas skills and entrepreneurs affected by President Donald Trump's latest immigration curbs, according to a CNBC report.

Earlier this week, Mr Trump extended a ban on H-1B and L-1 visas until at least the end of the year. Under the former, tens of thousands of tech workers - many from India - head for the US each year, while the L-1 visas facilitate intra-company transfers from foreign offices.American businesses have condemned the move but several companies in the UK are now attempting to capitalise on the clampdown.“If you’ve been affected by the ridiculous decision to suspend H1-B in the US, take a look at the UK Global Talent Visa,” wrote James Wise, a tech investor and partner at Balderton Capital, on Twitter.He pointed out that the UK was a global hub for tech and that it had more developers and venture capital money than most of the East Coast of America. CNBC said his comments had been endorsed and retweeted by other venture capitalists, founders and policymakers. His tweet also included a link to the UK Tech Visa website.Richard Howard, who works for Amazon Web Services in London, commented that the UK “should be absolutely taking the lead here” adding that “it should be an automatic welcome for anyone who qualified for H1-B or L”.Gonzalo Sanchez, head of growth at start-up relocation service Jobbatical, told CNBC that Mr Trump’s executive order represented "one of the most important things to happen to European tech in a while”.He pointed to data from venture capital firm Atomico that suggested Europe’s tech sector had been on an upward trajectory for the past decade and the fact that the continent now had more than a hundred companies valued at over $1 billion and had 6.1 million developers.While London would be the “logical winner” in Europe of the US visa curbs, he said there were several other emerging tech hubs in countries such as France and Estonia that might also benefit.Meanwhile, Sam Gill, the co-founder and chief operating officer of carbon offset monitoring platform Sylvera Carbon, took to Twitter to encourage people that had been affected by the US clampdown to get in touch. “We always have an open door for talented people — no matter where they come from,” he said.CNBC commented, "While the UK tech sector has created a number of multi-billion dollar companies, it has never created a behemoth on the scale of Apple, or Facebook, which are worth hundreds of billions."Poaching people that may have normally gone to the US could be viewed as a way to try to close the gap between the two tech sectors."I think 

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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