UK Tech Firms Continue to Cry Out for Talent Amid Low UK Work Permit Numbers

26 Jun 2019 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The start of summer and end of spring is an essential time for the technology industry in the UK, with the arrival of countless conferences, including London Tech Week. However, according to recent reports, the country is struggling to continue innovating and driving new success in technology, thanks to a limited number of tier 2 work permits delivered to overseas workers.

Top universities in Britain like Cambridge and Oxford are continually turning out a slow stream of graduates who have the knowledge to build AI solutions and deliver disruptive technology. However, there's not enough of these born-and-bred British graduates to go around. According to Seedcamp Tech investor Reshma Sohoni, the UK government needs to make the UK work permit easier to access for highly skilled tech workers from abroad.

Unfortunately, the call to support more UK visas for technology employees remains unnoticed for the most part. The Tier 1 UK work permit for exceptional talent in tech was designed in 2015 to help employers seek out new sources of skills. However, there is only a maximum of 200 visas available each year, and last year the cap was exceeded by 125. Tech companies believe that the UK should potentially be giving out thousands of visas per year, given the rising demand for tech talent.

Some tech workers will also be able to make it into the UK on the Tier 2 work permit, although this is capped at 20,700 visas per year too. Additionally, aside from having a limited number of visas to apply for, technology workers will also need to compete for other professionals like accountants and lawyers to get their hands after these sought-after UK visas.

Many companies looking to develop their presence in the UK technology industry believe that increasing the amount of access that tech professionals have to live and work in the UK could be an easy win for the country. This is particularly true at a time that the US is making it more difficult for foreign talent to enter its borders.