New Visa Scheme to Attract High Skilled IT Workers
Britain came under criticism last year when its Tier 2 visa programme which was introduced by the coalition government in 2011 reached its cap meaning that businesses were unable to recruit skilled workers from non-EU countries leading to remarks that Britain had closed its doors to some of the best and brightest talent in the world which could ultimately prove harmful to its economy. The government came under direct attack that unless something was done Britain would fall behind other countries with regards to digital progress. This came amid surveys conducted in the UK that found many businesses citing a shortage in digital skills as a barrier to progress.
In addition to the Tier 2 visa programme there is also the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa of which only two hundred are available every year and are issued by Tech City UK which is a government organisation whose goal it is to bring exceptionally talented technology workers from outside the EU into Britain, but to date has not been operating at its most effectual with Tier 1 visa’s available being seriously under subscribed for. This is attributed mainly to it being too limited in scope and the application process taking too long.
It would appear that the government took this feedback seriously and has established a new visa scheme for digital firms enabling businesses to bring over non-EU citizens with top IT skills.
This new scheme has been established after getting direct feedback from digital businesses with emphasis on business start-ups. The Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa has now evolved with the Tech Nation Visa Scheme being introduced from 12 November 2015 with four new qualifying criteria, which if met should enable companies to secure high calibre workers quickly.
The criteria are as follows:-
Very specific technical knowledge
Broader base of aspiring talent/exceptional promise
Fast track application procedure for firms located in seven cities
Groups of up to five workers to apply for permits at once
The first two criteria are designed to address the shortage of skills and enable Britain to compete with other countries that are already trying to attract workers from the top end of expertise. The third criteria is accompanied by Tech North in order to provide essential help in recruiting from overseas and placing these skills where they are most needed. The forth criteria is to allow firms who require entire teams the ability to do so.
It is hoped that the new visa scheme will prove successful in addressing the skills shortage.