Tech City UK, the government body responsible for processing visas for foreign workers wishing to work in Britain’s technology sector, has witnessed a spike in applications since the Brexit vote with 200 applying for special visas – this is a marked increase on the 20 who did so at the same point last year. Since 2014, the department has granted specialist visas for up to 200 non-EU workers a year in order to meet a plug a shortage of skilled coders in the economy.
Only a handful of coders took advantage of the scheme initially but this has ramped up significantly since last November when the government relaxed its rules to allow skilled individuals from companies to apply as a group whilst also prioritizing individuals showing ‘exceptional promise’.
It is expected that the 200 visa Home Office cap will be reached by April, versus less than half the annual allocation having been taken up last year.
Tech City chief executive Gerard Grech said: “It’s an encouraging set of results. It’s one of those situations where we’re in ongoing conversations with the Government, and we’re keeping an eye on it.
“We’ll have more conversations when we get closer to the limit. They know that tech talent is a growing part of the economy. They also understand that tech talent is a scarce resource.”
The top countries of origin for the scheme so far have been the USA, India and Nigeria.