Tech industry welcomes UK work permit changes

18 Mar 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The technology industry has welcomed the recent changes to the UK work permit scheme implemented by the government.

Steve Orr, director at the Northern Ireland Science Park CONNECT, said that attracting the “best and brightest talent at the required moment” is “essential” when scaling a digital technology company.

He praised the work done by Tech City UK and the government, along with other members of the industry around the country, to “develop immigration criteria that will help open the UK to exceptional tech talent”. Mr Orr added: “This is good news for digital business builders and good news for the UK economy.”

The comments come in response to last week's changes which will see five-year grants of leave offered to skilled workers, instead of three. This should deliver higher levels of flexibility for workers, while also allowing businesses to send their employees on trips overseas when they would previously have needed extension applications.

For the technology sector, additional benefits brought in include giving Tech City UK the ability to endorse top innovators and professionals in their field to allow them to access a UK work permit without the need for sponsorship from an employer.

Gerard Grech, the chief executive of Tech City UK, also welcomed the news: “Digital technology companies across the UK are engines for growth; creating jobs and attracting investment. Essential to a digital entrepreneur or CEO as they grow their business is the ability to attract global tech talent.

“I am pleased that Tech City UK is able to play a role in advising the Home Office on what exceptional talent in digital technology constitutes.”