Technology companies keen to retain skilled overseas staff have made more than 200 applications for special UK visas for workers since April.
Tech City UK, which administers the scheme, said there had been a spike in applications since June’s Brexit vote. Fewer than 20 applications had been received at this point 12 months ago.
The Tech City visas were introduced in 2014 to help bridge the skills gap for qualified coders, and in 2015, the rules were relaxed to allow workers to submit group applications and individuals with ‘exceptional promise’ to apply.
Tech City has the right to issue 200 of the special visas for non-EU citizens each year. It is planning to ask for the number to be increased if additional rules for EU staff working in the UK are introduced after Brexit.
A record number of applications were received in November, with one in seven being approved by Tech City. They must then be forwarded to the Home Office for approval and processing, which means the 200 limit is likely to be reached before the annual deadline in April next year. In 2015, fewer 100 Tech City visas were approved due to the low number of applications.
This year, the majority of applications came from men – 72 per cent compared to 28 per cent from women. The US, India and Nigeria headed the countries on the application list.
Tech City chief executive, Gerard Grech, told the Daily Telegraph: “It’s an encouraging set of results. It’s one of those situations where we’re in ongoing conversations with the Government, and we’re keeping an eye on it.
“We’ll have more conversations when we get closer to the limit. They know that tech talent is a growing part of the economy. They also understand that tech talent is a scarce resource.”