“The final details are still being drawn up"
According to reports, Rishi Sunak is planning to unveil details of new fast-track ‘Tech Visas’ in a bid to attract global talent.
He is set to make the announcement in his Budget statement in March 2021 as part of efforts to boost the UK’s financial technology industry.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has drawn up details for the scheme to attract global talent to UK start-ups and its £7 billion financial technology sector.
The proposals are said to have the backing of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The Daily Telegraph quoted Whitehall sources with knowledge of the plans to say that the new visas are likely to be approved by Tech Nation, Britain’s national network representing tech entrepreneurs.
According to the newspaper:
“The final details are still being drawn up, but insiders expect it will be similar to the Global Talent Visa announced last year to attract the world’s leading scientists to Britain.”
The Global Talent Visa is part of the UK’s new post-Brexit points-based system for visas and immigration.
It is being dubbed as levelling the field for migrants from within the European Union (EU) and other countries like India.
EU and non-EU citizens who want to live and work in the UK must meet a specific set of requirements and points under the new system.
To be considered, applicants must:
- Have a job offer from an approved sponsor
- Have a job that is deemed to be sufficiently skilled
- Speak English
Applicants must also earn enough points through three additional criteria:
- Education level
- How their salary compares with the going rate for the field in which they wish to work
- Whether there is a shortage of workers in their field
To qualify for entry, applicants must score 70 points or more. Points are allocated based on the criteria.
- 20 points are allocated to applicants for getting a job offer from an approved sponsor.
- 20 points are awarded for the job offer to of the applicants’ skill level.
- Being able to speak English at the required level carries 10 points.
Applicants must gain the 50 mandatory points before gaining a further 20.
- Above going rate (1) for occupation, or over £ 25,600 (2) (whichever is higher) is worth 20 points.
- Up to 10% below going rate, or up to 10% below £ 25,600 (whichever is higher) carries 10 points.
- 10-20% below going rate, or 10-20% below £ 25,600 (whichever is higher is worth 0 points.
However, the Global Talent Visa contains no limit on numbers for people who are suitably qualified.
On the potential fast-track ‘Tech Visas’, James Lloyd-Townshend, CEO at Frank Recruitment Group, spoke of the impact it could have. He said:
“We always expected that Brexit was going to change the business landscape in this country in a lot of ways, some of which we can’t predict yet.
“However, one thing the tech and recruitment sectors have been preparing for is the impact of Brexit on hiring and potential talent shortages.
“The tech sector has seen mounting growth in demand for its services long before 2020, of course, but the pandemic massively accelerated that growth in ways that we could never have anticipated.
“The country was already facing a skills shortage that spans many industries, and the increased use of digital services means a spike in demand for tech professionals.
“This booming demand is creating both an opportunity and a challenge, making competition for talent more formidable than ever before.
“The sector has been looking for solutions to the digital skills gap for years.
“Many businesses are opting to focus on upskilling and cross-training to equip themselves with the digital skills they need, particularly as post-Brexit restrictions introduce new hurdles for organisations looking to fill roles.
“As a result of these constraints, companies could have access to a smaller talent pool in the future, or experience major delays when hiring as access to international candidates diminishes.
“This, in turn, would create additional costs for UK businesses.
“Fast-track ‘Tech Visas’ could potentially streamline and speed up talent acquisition, ensuring startups and the fintech sector have access to the skills they need to move forward.
“This would have a massively positive impact on the country’s digital landscape and help us compete in the global marketplace.”
Rishi Sunak is believed to be keen to maintain the UK’s status as a global hub for fintech and to overcome any obstacles as a result of Brexit because such firms are often heavily reliant on European talent.
The Budget in March 2021 is expected to be dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
As a result, Mr Sunak is expected to continue many of the support schemes due to expire at the end of March while lockdown restrictions are gradually lifted.
Senior business leaders expect Rishi Sunak to announce a six-month extension of the furlough scheme before it is gradually phased out later in 2021.
It is also reported that treasury insiders have indicated that any major tax rises are likely to be delayed until later in 2021.