The Statements of Changes confirmed that, from 6 April 2014, the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) sector is being restructured to include a designated allocation of 200 endorsements for those showing exceptional talent in the field of digital technology. These endorsements will be given out by Tech City UK. Unlike the other Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) sub-categories, which offer endorsements to world leaders as well as those who show promise in their field, Tech City UK’s endorsements are for only those who are world leaders, i.e. the applicant must have a proven track record of innovation in working for a digital technology company.
Once endorsed, individuals will be able to apply for a visa to come to the UK and to undertake work, without the need for a sponsoring employer.
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 has hampered technology start-ups setting up in the UK.
The overall cap on Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visas will remain at its current level of 1,000 per year. However, the Home Office has stated that the sub-category is currently under-subscribed and that, therefore, there is space within the category for this reallocation from the four existing endorsing bodies' allocations to accommodate the tech sector.
This is a strong, positive step from the government and one which will surely prove valuable for entrepreneurs, founders, and innovators who are looking to relocate to the UK.
Through our work with Tech London Advocates, Penningtons Manches is actively involved in lobbying the government on behalf of the tech sector and is working to facilitate access to the UK for entrepreneurs/founders, as well as assisting growth stage companies in sourcing the global talent they require.