Applications for technology visas “rise after Brexit”

Applications for visas to allow non-EU immigrant tech workers to work in the UK has increased in popularity post-Brexit.

According to Tech City UK, the government body responsible for processing tech talent visas, there have been more than 300 applications since April – a huge increase when compared to the same period in 2015, where it received just 20, The Telegraph reports.

The high number of applications comes after Tech City UK was allowed to hand out 200 visa applications a year for exceptional talent in digital technology in 2014.

While the programme had few applicants in the first few months of its existence, the number appears to have increased. Between April 2015 and April this year Tech City UK received 100 applications, 79 of which were endorsed for “exceptional talent/promise” in digital technology.

In a statement, Tech City UK said: “Between April and November 2016, we have received over 200 applications, maintaining an endorsement rate of 70%. On average this year, we’re receiving over three times more applications per month than last year, with this November being a record high.”

The applications appear to have increased after the introduction of new provisions in November 2015. These created the possibility of “Exceptional Promise” routes for applicants either with specific scale-up skills, including both technical and business roles; individuals applying to one of seven northern cities and the surrounding regions; and for those applying as part of a team of up to five individuals.

Carlos Espinal, a partner at Seedcamp, said that successful fast-growing companies can go from a couple of founders to well over hundreds of employees in a short order of time. “Attracting the best talent is the main job of an ambitious startup CEO,” he said.

Espinal added: “Many of these employees will be coming from local talent, but where necessary, to stay competitive globally, from abroad through initiatives including the Tech Nation Visa scheme. Hiring an expert can make a significant impact on a scaling business, and we’ve been able to help a couple of our startups in attracting that talent both locally and internationally to grow their companies.”

Gerald Grech, Tech City’s chief executive, told The Telegraph that he would like to increase the cap for visas, which could be particularly crucial to maintaining EU migration after Brexit.

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