UK group opens up tech visa scheme to EU

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The UK’s Tech Nation trade association has opened up its technical visa programme to members of EU countries.

The Global Talent Visa for Digital Technology programme was launched in 2014 and sees Tech Nation paid as an endorser of technical workers. A job offer is not necessary, and it is open to technical and business people as well as startup founders.

The UK is seeing a significant job shortage in tech, particularly in AI and cybersecurity, while at the same time digital tech exports are currently projected to grow by 35% by 2025. This would result in an additional £8.15bn worth of tech exports to £31.45bn by 2025. Parallel to this, demand for the Tech Nation Visa rose by 48 percent in 2020.

In the UK, digital tech saw a 36 percent increase in vacancies from June to August 2020, second only to healthcare for the number of jobs advertised. In 2019, the role of software developer was one of the top 5 sought after roles across UK cities.

 In the UK, demand for AI jobs has increased by 111 percent from 2017 to 2019 and 68 percent of UK businesses have tried to hire someone with cyber skills within the last 5 years, but more than a third of these vacancies are hard to fill says a recent Tech Nation report. The geographical areas that have seen the biggest increase in demand for these skills are Northern Ireland (418 percent) and Wales (200 percent).

“It was clear from the start that the UK was the right choice for iLoF,” said Luis Valente, CEO of Intelligent Lab on Fiber (iLOF) who is from Portugal and used the scheme. “The bureaucracy of setting up the business is one of the lowest in Europe, the tax benefits are efficient, and aside from having some of the best tech talent in the world, there is vibrant venture capital ecosystem ready to take your business to the next level.”

Next: Tech visa details and costs

The visa caters for different levels of experience, from recent graduates just starting their careers, to experienced veterans with decades of achievements. There are two routes for this, Exceptional Promise & Exceptional Talent.

The visa can be initially granted for up to 5 years and family can come as well, subject to conditions.

The process costs £608 (€675) with £456 for the endorsement and £97 for the visa for EU nationals (rather than £152 for global applicants). There is also a healthcare surcharge for each year, which is £624 (€700) per year for each person applying.

Tech Nation has an eligibility checker for the programme.

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