Third party sponsor (TPS) visas could provide a solution to unlock the barriers to growth for tech start-ups according to Penningtons Manches’ and Tech London Advocates (TLA)’s latest white paper entitled “Immigration and Tech: Working together for the UK”. 

The white paper was launched at the Home Office Hours session hosted by the Penningtons Manches immigration team on 1 December 2015 for around 40 representatives from the Home Office, TLA, tech entrepreneurs and start-ups.

Current immigration policy, while working well for some sectors, remains a deterrent towards the recruitment of these skilled overseas workers for the tech sector and is considered a significant hurdle towards the growth of burgeoning tech businesses in the UK. This deadly combination of a serious shortage of home-grown talent with the right skills and high immigration hurdles to overcome for overseas talent means that the one of the UK’s high growth and fast-moving entrepreneurial sectors – technology and digital business – cannot expand at the required rate to remain globally competitive.

A TPS visa would allow overarching entities such as accelerators, incubators and venture capital firms to sponsor migrants on behalf of companies in which they have invested or for whom they are providing services/resources. 

Penningtons Manches strongly believes that TPS can be an effective, evolutionary short-term solution to allow the UK’s most promising and proven start-ups to grow at the required speed to achieve success and global competitiveness. Says Pat Saini, head of immigration and chair of TLA’s talent and immigration working party: “TPS is not a sea change to Tier 2 or a way to avoid it. It is a natural evolution of current immigration policy. Much as the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) programme was extended to allow UKTI to sponsor young entrepreneurs from overseas, this programme represents an extension of existing policy to ensure that young tech businesses in the UK are able to grow.”

Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates comments, “This Government has been very supportive of the technology sector yet immigration legislation is threatening to undermine future growth. Strangling the access of London’s fastest growing digital companies to global talent threatens our position as the European capital of technology. Our hope is the Government listens to the private sector and sends a clear message to the global digital community – London is open for business.”

The white paper “Immigration and Tech: Working together for the UK” can be read here.