New immigration system can support UK tech sector, say ministers

Immigration systemImage: New immigration system can support tech sector, say ministers. Photo: Courtesy of GOV.UK.

UK Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes and Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries Margot James have said that the new immigration system can support the UK’s growing tech sector.

Both ministers co-chaired a discussion with tech entrepreneurs and industry professionals on how the new immigration system can support the tech sector.

A few weeks ago, the Home Office introduced Start-up and Innovator visas in a bid to attract international tech talent to the UK.

They said that exit from the EU will provide the UK an opportunity to reshape its immigration system and the Home Office is working extensively on its new proposals, set out in a government white paper, to ensure the plans work for business and communities across the UK.

Caroline Nokes said: “We have the most successful tech sector in Europe and our capital is home to thousands of start-ups and I want to make sure that Britain remains a top destination for tech talent.

“It’s why our new immigration system will balance delivering on the referendum result and ending free movement with attracting skilled people from around the world so that our economy continues to prosper.”

The roundtable was held at the Barbican Centre in partnership with Tech Nation and is part of a year-long engagement programme. So far, more than 90 such events have been held across the UK.

Margot James said: “The UK continues to attract talent from all around the world. This is thanks to our world-leading academic institutions, strong access to finance and long standing reputation for innovation.

“Making sure we have the talent and skills so the tech sector can continue its incredible growth, is a priority of our modern Industrial Strategy.

“We are determined to ensure the tech sector has access to the talent that it needs.”

The Start-up visa route is meant for those starting a business in the UK, while the Innovator visa is for experienced business people who intend to invest in their business.

Under the future immigration proposals, annual cap on the number of visas issued for skilled workers will be removed, outdated schemes such as the resident labour market test will be abolished, and wider skills threshold will be introduced to include people with qualifications equivalent of A-levels.

The government said that the new immigration and borders system will be implemented in a phased approach from 2021.

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