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Cameron launches new visa route for tech talent

Alex Wood
Old Street will see a series of new developments in 2014

Immigration policy launched as part of 3rd anniversary

As part of a series of announcements marking the 3rd anniversary of the government’s Tech City project, David Cameron has announced his support for a new visa route for talented technologists from across the world.

Talent has been one of the biggest issues facing London’s growing tech scene over the past three years.

Shortage of skilled talent

Startups across the city have struggled to bring in experienced engineers and product managers, forcing some of our best companies to open offices or relocate their companies abroad.

meghillier

Meg Hillier MP has championed immigration reform for entrepreneurs

In our roundtable earlier this year we heard from entrepreneurs waiting months for visas, causing them to miss opportunities and harming the growth of their startups.

Is immigration harming the startup economy? Find out more in our roundtable report.

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Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch has championed the issue and continues to campaign for reform in parliament.

The new route will allow applicants to emigrate using the Exceptional Talent scheme.

Until now this scheme was limited to exceptional individuals nominated by the likes of the  Arts Council or the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The new application process will be open from April next year.

ian_robinsonIan Robinson of Fragomen Worldwide [pictured right], an immigration law firm, said it was an encouraging move so long as Tech City and the Home Office embraced the opportunity:

“The exceptional talent visa is a great idea – the Home Office can’t know who the best entrepreneurs are so why not let the experts pick them.

But Tech City will have to make the most of it. The visa is chronically underused by scientists right now and it would be a crying shame if Tech City didn’t make every effort to fill the quota, whatever that may be.”

Policy created in response to the needs of startups

In a statement David Cameron praised Tech City UK’s policies which he said were “developed in direct response to the needs of startups and entrepreneurs”.

This isn’t the first time the government has worked on immigration policy to help grow the technology sector.

Under the guidance of Rohan Silva, former advisor to Cameron, the entrepreneur visa was created with the aim of helping foreign founders launch startups in the UK.

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