UK Tier 2 visa widely used by tech companies with Tier 2 sponsorship licences to recruit non-EU workers

A new report claims that the UK tech sector won’t be as hard hit by access to overseas talent as originally feared, despite Brexit. The in-depth study, which analysed the makeup of Britain’s 1.7 million strong digital workforce, found that most overseas workers across the country’s tech sector are non-EU citizens, hired via the Tier 2 visa system by employers with Tier 2 Sponsorship Licences.

Sanwar Ali has the following comments:

The fact that so many UK IT companies are going to the time, trouble and expense of obtaining a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence and Tier 2 Visa surely suggests that there is a serious shortage of many IT related skills.   UK Visas and Immigration would appear to be making it more and more difficult to obtain tier 2 visas.   Therefore, it seems quite likely that IT skills shortages will become worse and worse so damaging the crucially important UK tech sector.

Brexit has fuelled growing concerns of a skills shortage across Britain’s tech industry, as it loses access to highly-skilled workers from within the EU. However, of the 13 percent working in the tech sector, more than half are non-EU nationals likely to be employed on Tier 2 visas, according to research commissioned by Tech City UK and Nesta.

In London, the number of foreign workers from outside the EU accounted for 20 percent of Britain’s digital workforce. Meanwhile, overseas staff from within the EU made up 11 percent of skilled labour.

Tier 2 visa holders ‘highly educated’

Tech City UK’s study claims that non-EU workers holding a Tier 2 visa, sponsored by a British employer, are likely to be more highly educated. According to their report, 17.6 percent of international workers outside of the EU are qualified to Masters or PhD level. In contrast, 12.5 percent of workers within the EU hold such accreditations. 

However, the hiring of EU nationals for digital jobs has grown at a faster pace between 2010 and 2015 – the most recent figures available – compared with the recruitment of non-EU workers.

This has partly been attributed to tighter Tier 2 visa restrictions implemented during the five year timeframe. On April 6, 2015, the Home Office announced that the minimum salary threshold for a Tier 2 ICT visa would be increased, making it more expensive for employers to hire non-EU workers.

Tech City’s Doctor George Windsor, said:  “We know that entrepreneurs are concerned about the extent to which tech communities depend on a flow of talent from EU and non-EU countries to run their businesses.”

“By compiling an accurate log of the mix of nationalities in the sector, we can pinpoint where pressures might exist in the future,” Windsor added. can help with Tier 2 Visa Sponsorship Licences and Tier 2 Visas

If you need help with a Tier 2 visa, or a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence, including help with complying with your Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence obligations can help. More and more employers are facing sudden unannounced onsite inspections. Contact us for a copy of our free Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence Compliance guide.

For more information and advice on UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at