The UK is geared up to boost its economy through ‘Startup Visa’ which is to be officially launched in the Spring of 2019. Home Secretary, Sajid Javid said this would help ensure the UK to attract the best global talent and maintain the nation’s position as a world-leading destination for innovation and entrepreneurs. He said the new visa was for people wanting to start a business in the UK. The move will make the visa process faster and smoother for graduates.
The Home Office’s report states that applicants for the UK startup visa must have an endorsement from a university or approved business sponsor. This is good news for tech startups wanting to set up shop in the UK, and startups in the UK wanting to hire the talent they can’t get locally. This was welcomed by the technology sector which has been experiencing an acute talent shortage in recent years. TechUK’s deputy chief executive Antony Walker described the new visa as a sensible initiative to encourage those with good ideas to come to the UK. “We understand that about 1000 tech workers with job offers were refused visas between December 2017 and March 2018. This is a handbrake on economic growth and needs to be urgently addressed.”
The British immigration system has impacted the increase in demand for key skills such as data science. The report further states that the Home Office was taking major steps to make the country a dynamic, open and globally-trading nation. The startup visa initiative follows the recent decision of doubling the number of visas available through the ‘Exceptional Talent’ route.
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Increasing the Talent Pool
After the Brexit, UK is looking at increasing its talent pool and economy through such schemes. Migrants will now be able to enter the country if they can find a UK business willing to sponsor them. James Parton, the managing director of the Bradfield Centre at Cambridge Science Park, said this was a positive step towards making the UK more attractive for startups.
Paul Hughes, the director of Enterprise Support Allia also voiced the same. “There is a huge tradition of migrants being a significant driver of new business creation, and there is no reason that they must all be University graduates. With the impending onset of Brexit, anything the government can do to support genuine entrepreneurs should be supported. Of course, we need to see and understand the detail of the new visa programme but utilizing the expertise of incubators and accelerators such as the Allia Serious Impact programmes is certainly an interesting way to de-risk and support migrant entrepreneurs.”
Migrants Rights Network interim director Rita Chadha said they welcomed the startup visa programme and were glad to see that the government was prepared to invest in migration. She also raised concerns that the visa should not be restricted to those who have the ability to and are prepared to invest or start-up business in the UK. “The hostile environment, in all its cruelty, is currently being exposed. We remain concerned that future generations of migrants will continue to be met with laws and practices that limit their rights and access to services.” Past years have witnessed the UK caught in a swift battle of tough action on immigration.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the measures will allow innovative British startups to invest in their future, and in the UK by hiring more skilled people, expanding their business and exporting their expertise across the world. The UK continues to be a popular destination for people choosing to migrate for work, study or family reasons. The new visa programme will welcome people without a university education and improve the application process.