David Cameron has announced today 6 December 2013, that a new ‘tech visa’ is to become available from April 2014. This will be achieved through opening the Tier 1 (exceptional talent) visa route to technology experts.
One thousand Tier 1 (exceptional talent) visas are currently available each year to exceptionally talented individuals in the fields of science, humanities, engineering and the arts. They must be endorsed by either The Royal Society, The British Academy, The Royal Academy of Engineering or The Arts Council. These visas have been vastly undersubscribed. Where they have been used, it has been for academics and in the performing arts. It is envisaged that Tech City will be the endorsing body for the new visa.
The expansion of Tier 1 (exceptional talent) to technology experts is intended to encourage established technology businesses and start-ups to base themselves in the UK. This is in response to growing criticism that the government’s immigration policy hampered technology start-ups setting up in London’s Tech City.