UK work permit laws 'damaging tech sector'

17 Apr 2013 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The laws and regulations surrounding access to UK work permits are having a detrimental impact on the technology sector in Britain.

This is the view expressed by Doug Ward, entrepreneur and chief executive of Manchester's Tech Hub, which provides community workspace for entrepreneurs in the technology sector.

Speaking to Computer Weekly, Mr Ward stated: "The UK should be trying to attract the smartest people in the world. My only niggle at the moment is the immigration laws.

"We have Chinese computer science students who come to the UK, but because of their visas they have to leave before they've even graduated."

At the moment, the Tech Hub franchise is in discussions with overseas countries including China to expand the initiative elsewhere. However, the feedback appears to be that the top talent from abroad are being put off moving to Britain.

"We want people from around the world to come to Great Britain because it's important for the economy," Mr Ward added. "It's crucial for the economy to attract the best talent in the world to work with UK businesses."

The Coalition Government introduced new restrictions on UK work permits when they came into power, limiting the number of Tier 2 permits that can be issued annually and introducing tighter restrictions on job types and salaries for students and business people applying for the visas.

In addition to embracing talent from overseas, the chief executive of Tech Hub urged Britain to encourage more young people to consider technology as a career path. He advocated a combination of well-educated and experienced local talent and a stream of overseas workers who have the abilities to make the UK a stronger presence on the global market.

"We need to advocate, we want people to be happy and to be serious and think globally," he concluded, urging more people to embrace an entrepreneurial way of life and take chances in order to succeed.