Calling All ‘Tech Talent’ Applicants – The UK Needs You! banner


Calling All ‘Tech Talent’ Applicants – The UK Needs You!

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- By Teni Shahiean of OTS Solicitors

If you are a promising technology sector professional or entrepreneur, the thriving UK technology industry wants you to bring your talent to the UK. Booming Britain is set to become the world’s fourth largest economy and the technology sector is predicted to grow a further 15 percent in 2016.

Immigration is a big issue for UK start-ups, with many of them struggling to find people in the UK or Europe with the skills they need. PwC's 2015 Global Digital IQ Survey found 78% of UK companies considered a skills shortage in digital expertise as one of their main barriers to progress.

For talented individuals wanting to come to the UK to expand their skills and channel their innovative ideas in a country that has the investment potential and dynamism to make them happen, there are a number of different entry routes available.

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa

Introduced by the Home Office in 2011, the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa allows for the fast-tracking of 1000 foreign workers to come to the UK. In response to the growing need for the technology sector to recruit employees from outside the EEA, the Government gave Tech City UK the power to endorse 200 of these visas under the Exceptional Tech Talent Scheme. Currently, only 37 applications have been received, so there is plenty of places available for 2016.

To be eligible for a visa under the Exceptional Tech Talent Scheme you must be endorsed by Tech City UK as having exceptional talent or exceptional promise.

Tier 2 (General) Visa

Skilled technology workers can also enter the UK through a Tier 2 (General) Visa. To be eligible, an employer needs to sponsor you. Other requirements include:

  • you must have £945 in savings
  • you need the required level of English
  • the job you’re offered must pay £20,800 or more

A Tier 2 Visa will allow you to stay for up to five years. After this, provided you meet the relevant criteria, (including the minimum salary threshold) you may be granted Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Tier 1 (entrepreneur) Visa

If you wish to come to the UK to set up your own technology business, then the entrepreneur route may be the best option for you. To be eligible you will need to show:

  • you have at least £50,000 or £200,000 available for investment into a new or existing business where the investment will create at least two new full-time jobs for UK residents
  • you are a genuine entrepreneur by demonstrating you have a proper business plan
  • you can support yourself financially
  • you have a good knowledge of English

An Entrepreneur Visa will allow you to stay in the UK for three years and four months, with an opportunity to extend for a further two years. Following this, if you meet the requirements, you may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

If you work for a company planning to set up business in the UK, or are employed by an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation and are posted on a long-term assignment, then you can enter the UK on a Representative of an Overseas Business Visa.

This visa will allow you to remain in the UK for five years, after which you may be able to apply to settle permanently in the country.

To be eligible to enter the UK on the Sole Representative’s route you must:

  • be recruited and employed outside the UK by a company whose headquarters and principal place of business are outside the UK
  • have extensive related industry experience and knowledge
  • hold a senior position within the company (but not be a major shareholder) and have full authority to make decisions on its behalf
  • intend to establish the company’s first commercial presence in the UK, e.g., a registered branch or a wholly owned subsidiary

Your family members can join you in the UK under Representative of an Overseas Business Visa.

If you are looking to move to the UK to work in the ever growing technology market, then OTS Solicitors can fast-track your application process and ensure your application is made correctly. Widely regarded as one of the best Immigration and employment law firms in London, we have assisted hundreds of employees and entrepreneurs gain entry into the UK, so they can fulfil their career ambitions. To find out how we can help you, please phone our London office on 0207 936 9960 and make an appointment with one of our team.

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