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The number of UK Global Talent Visa applications made through Tech Nation – the official endorsing body for high level UK immigration in the technology sector - since 2014 has reached 4,000, according to official data. In recent years, the popularity of the UK Global Talent Visa has surged.
The last 12 months in particular has been a bumper season for applications with 35% of the total made within the past year. The founding CEO of Tech Nation, Gerard Grech, said: “The UK is a global powerhouse for tech, not only due to our world-class ideas and innovation, but our world-class talent too.”
“Tech Nation’s Global Talent Visa is just one of the many reasons the UK is such an attractive hub for ambitious and inspiring tech entrepreneurs, and will help ensure the UK remains one of the best destinations to start and scale a tech business in the months and years to come.”
Easier for skilled talent
The UK Global Talent Visa was launched in February 2020 and was designed to make it easier for highly skilled, overseas talent to come to Britain. The visa is a revamped version of the former Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa and allows skilled applicants to apply without a UK job offer in place.
Tech Nation is tasked with endorsing Global Talent Visa applications made by those who want to work in technology or digital roles.
It’s understood that the 4,000 applications have been made from more than 100 countries, while over 600 tech founders have been endorsed for visas by the body.
Approximately one-third of the applications were received by Tech Nation in the 12 months from July 2020 to August 2021, while 58% of applications were made in the two years between July 2019 and August 2021.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, hiring across the tech sector slumped as firms paused projects and cut spending until they were certain of what the future held.
However, the popularity of the Global Talent Visa has surged over the last few years and despite the pandemic, there was a 28% year-on-year increase in applications between April 2020 and March 2021.
Several sectors have also seen an increase in the number of Global Talent Visa applications made, with Tech Nation stating that it has seen a 172% rise in endorsements for those wanting to work in cyber security. Meanwhile, the number of applicants with a background in health technology has seen a 117% increase.
Cyber security and health technology became hugely key sectors during the coronavirus pandemic.
Skills shortage complaints
Rising skills shortages caused by the pandemic, Brexit and delays in tech investment have sparked fears about access to talent across the tech sector.
However, the steady rise in Global Talent Visa applications is a promising sign. Tech Nation has reported that its receiving a lot of applications from people with so-called traditional tech skills, including those with application and software development, artificial intelligence, machine learning and enterprise software experience.
Meanwhile, much of the talk around technology skills in the UK tends to centre around the so-called ‘London bubble’. 37% of the UK’s tech talent is based in Britain’s capital. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a change as a new era of flexible and remote working begins.
According to Tech Nation, 40% of its endorsed applicants are based outside of London and are opting to set up in other cities such as Edinburgh, Manchester and Oxford.
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